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Applying ethics rules to ‘daily deals’
State ethics committees have struggled for decades with applying traditional ethics rules to new forms of electronic communications. Among other things, early bar opinions condemned lawyers’ use of cellphones and unencrypted email. Even though a consensus has developed in favor of allowing such communications, new issues constantly arise. For example, no consensus has developed on whether a lawyer receiving an electronic document from an adversary can search for hidden “metadata.” Despite the American Bar Association’s fairly early opinion finding such “mining” ethically acceptable, the states continue to split nearly 50/50 on that issue. (ABA LEO 442 (8/5/06)). States bars have recently been forced to address lawyers’ use of the “daily deal” type of e-commerce marketing. As most consumers know, that type of marketing involves local service providers offering temporary special pricing, usually publicized on social media sites or via email.