Lawyers Allowed to Use .Org As Ruled by Arizona Bar

Lawyers Allowed to Use .Org As Ruled by Arizona Bar

1/4/2012

 

A story published in azcentral.com said that in an opinion issued by the Arizona state bar, it has allowed usage of the .org domain name by lawyers.

Up until now, lawyers in Arizona were not allowed to use the .org domain names. About a decade ago, the ethics panel ruled that websites of law firms must only use the .com domain names. This ruling was based on the conclusion that firms that exist for profit should have a .com suffix, because if they use .org suffix, it will give the impression that the firm’s existence is not for profit or that it is affiliated with a group that is non-profit.

In the opinion provided by the state bar, it said that in light of the use of the .org suffix by organizations for profit, then it is a remote possibility that the public would still be misled by the use of.org suffix by a for-profit firm. It also added that a reasonable individual, who would like to verify whether a particular entity falls under the category of being non-profit, would not just rely on the suffix of its website address.

However, the ethics panel also cautioned that this opinion given by the state bar is not a carte blanche for lawyers that will allow them do whatever it is that they would like with their website domains. According to the committee, the key still goes back to the code of ethics of lawyers with regards to being truthful and transparent with their clients, whether by an act of omission or commission.

Hence, law firms or lawyers, would not be able to use a suffix that would give a false impression that they are affiliated with a government entity or a non-profit organization.

Hopefully, it would not take 10 years for the Arizona Bar to make a call on the .law which is being considered, and also with the gTLD that is about to go live on 2013.

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com