Tag Archives: lawyers

Can Lawyers Advertise With Yodle?

This lawyer won’t.

Yodle is an online advertiser. They “provide local businesses with a simple and affordable way to promote their services and generate new leads using internet marketing.”

I find buying keywords from Google to be complicated. Am I buying the right ones? How many should I buy?  How much should I spend? I went to law school not marketing school. I have no idea what’s a good approach with Google. Yodle attempts to solve this problem buy doing it for you.

For example, if I were interested in marketing a real estate practice, I tell Yodle this, we set a budget, they create a website for me and buy keywords. In theory, it is a great service for a small business – I have no idea whether or not it works but the concept is good.

The problem for lawyers is in the details. Yodle sets up a phone number for you and then records your calls. Yodle monitors the calls.

Here are Yodle’s terms of service:

6. Call Recording and Monitoring
For quality assurance, Yodle records and/or monitors calls between Customer (including the Locations) and Yodle agents, employees and/or its affiliates regarding the Services (the “Service Calls”). If the Services include call recording or monitoring, Yodle will record and/or monitor incoming calls and e-mails between the Location, or the Location’s agents, employees, and/or its affiliates and people who contact the Location through the tracking telephone numbers or contact forms Yodle provides (the “Inbound Calls” and, collectively with Service Calls, “Call Recording and Monitoring”). By this Agreement, Customer, on behalf of itself and each Location, consents to any and all Call Recording and Monitoring performed by Yodle or its agents, employees and/or its affiliates.

In speaking with Yodle, they advised me that the call monitoring service could be dropped. However, when I pressed the sales representative to remove the above clause from the contract they refused to do so. I then refused to hire Yodle.

Why?

Rule 1.6 of the ABA Code of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to protect the confidentiality of client information. The relevant comment reads as follows:

Paragraph (c) requires a lawyer to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, information relating to the representation of a client does not constitute a violation of paragraph (c) if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure.  Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g., by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this Rule.  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules.  For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, Comments [3]-[4].

Yodle’s promise to “turn off call monitoring” while insisting on maintaining it in their terms and conditions presents an interesting problem for any lawyer seeking their services.

Any lawyer can tell you clients leave all sorts of highly personal information on voicemails. Especially, calls for initial consultations. Lawyers never know what they are going to find when they check their morning voicemails.

Any lawyer looking to advertise with Yodle should at the very least contact their malpractice carrier. My carrier provides free advice on such matters. Lawyers should also consider seeking an advisory opinion with State ethics counsel.

In the meantime, this lawyer will not be advertising with Yodle.