|Site Content Attracting Questions about Legality|
Looking for opinion on site topic, not legal advice
Not looking for specific legal advice, just a consensus of whether legal advice should be the next step, or should it be ignored?
I have a client with a very aged and likely sought after domain in the (coincidentally) legal realm. It's very generic, he is US based and not a lawyer. For the last 4-5 years, he has published content that helps visitors learn about different legal matters, and points them to various legal resources to learn more.
Over the past week, he has received email communication from "The Law Society of England and Wales", asking for licenses and stating that the website is pretending to be a solicitor in England and Wales.
The website has the typical disclaimers that is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, the owner is not an attorney, etc etc. Even the "About Us" type page states clearly that the content is informational only, and goes well into explaining that the content is for research only and should never be a substitute for an Attorney.
There are much larger informational sites out there with similar generic information. Should he be concerned? Should he seek out legal advice on the matter, or wait until a registered letter shows up to take it more serious?
Thanks in advance,
Well, IANAL, nor do I play one on TV, but I generally feel fairly safe taking anything via e-mail with less than a grain of salt.
For one thing, there's no guarantee that it actually did come from that organization. (A huge red flag would be something sent from a Hotmail address claiming to represent them.)
For another thing, if he's U.S. based, why is a body across the pond bothering him?
If he's U.S. based, he should be able to find a lawyer that will give him a free (or extremely cheap) consultation about the situation and whether he should be worried. If it were me, I would probably do a free consult with 2 different lawyers so I could have a second opinion.
That's about the same way we're thinking LIA. Thanks for the feedback.
He's crossed up somewhere between it being a serious consideration, or someone less scrupulous trying to get him to release the domain.
|I generally feel fairly safe taking anything via e-mail with less than a grain of salt |
Really? I'd take it with a shovelful of salt. I was suprised to discover that "The Law Society of England and Wales" is a real thing. I'd have assumed it was related to the people who have recently been sending me spam headed "Eviction Notice". (Psst! Spammer! Sending these early in the month-- when all your recipients have just paid their rent and therefore know your mail is garbage even without the further clue of an incorrect sender-- is a pretty spectacularly brainless idea.) But you wouldn't get legal notices from the Bar Association itself. Unless you are yourself an attorney and haven't paid your dues, maybe.
Wonder if they know that someone's been taking their name in vain. It might be amusing to let them know-- but it would have to come from a direct victim.
The chances of a legal entity contacting you via email is fairly slim, but you would do well to contact the law society directly to see if the email did indeed come from them.
This would also be my first route to attempt to clear up any confusion your site has caused them.
I rarely add salt to anything, so I definitely wouldn't use a shovelful.
The first thing I did was look up the organization to see if it was even legit, or to see if there were other scams related to them.
I didn't really bring it out very well, but my point was that anything "legal" sent via e-mail isn't very legal and generally doesn't need to be taken seriously. Even something sent via regular mail has to be looked at with some skepticism (especially if it was mailed with bulk rate postage). Something sent FedEx or registered mail? OK, you can (and should) take notice of that.
Registered, signature receipt snail mail you take notice. All others require some skepticism. If really concerned, contact them directly with the query: "In these days of email scams, did you send this to me?" and see where that goes.
but you would do well to contact the law society directly to see if the email did indeed come from them.
A quick look at the email headers should trap all but the most well thought out scams.
I had on official looking email that could just possibly have been genuine quite recently but I binned it as I didn't think that a UK based organisation would have sent it from a server in Brazil.