Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, may lawyers encourage current and former clients to post positive reviews or comments and favorable “star” ratings of the lawyer through a search engine’s or social media platform’s review feature?
An online search engine includes a feature that allows users to post reviews of business organizations and professionals, such as law firms and lawyers. The lawyer has no control over the search engine, which allows users to post a “star” rating of the lawyer and make comments that can be seen by other users of the search engine. An aggregate star rating of the lawyer appears on the search engine when a user searches the name of the lawyer. Star ratings and comments left by individual users can also be seen by users of the search engine.
The lawyer desires a favorable star rating on the search engine and user comments that cast the lawyer in a positive light. To achieve this, the lawyer asks current and former clients to leave positive comments and favorable star ratings. The lawyer does not pay or provide anything of value in exchange for these favorable reviews.
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 685 (2020)