AVVO RULED UNETHICAL BY NEW YORK STATE BAR

AVVO.COM, the popular attorney referral service, is in trouble in New York State. The New York State Bar Association issued an opinion on August 8, 2017 that attorneys may not pay the marketing fee to Avvo, as it constitutes an impermissible payment for a recommendation. The opinion can be found at http://www.nysba.org/EthicsOpinion1132/.

Avvo rates attorneys on its website. Attorneys can sign up to receive Avvo referrals, but it they are retained by an Avvo referred client, they are required to pay a marketing fee to Avvo. The amount of the marketing fee varies with the amount the lawyer charges the client, with the fee being higher for higher priced legal work.

The New York State Bar opinion holds that the payment of the marketing fee to Avvo, is an illegal payment for a referral, in violation of Rule 7.2 of the New York State Rules of Professional Conduct. Other states, such as New Jersey, Ohio and Pennslyvania have made similar rulings.

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