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New Jersey attorney Ty Hyderally landed himself into some trouble over his law firm website's seal.
Hyderally's cousin designed the website for him. The cousin found the seal via a Google search and decided to integrate it onto the website because he thought it looked nice.
Unfortunately, Hyderally wasn't certified as the seal proclaimed. In fact, the lawyer didn't even realize the seal was on his website until he was contacted by disciplinary authorities. The seal was displayed for two years. He is now facing a court hearing over the charges. Sure, most attorneys realize that displaying a seal isn't a good idea if you aren't really certified. But what else should you avoid?
These days, it seems that anybody with a computer and a dusty "HTML for Dummies" book can piece together a website. That doesn't mean you should. A law firm's website should be polished and scream of professionalism. Why would clients trust your legal work if your site doesn't look clean?
There's nothing that demeans a client's confidence more than finding a typographical error on a website that boasts about a lawyer's diligence.
If you're writing your own website's content, you should be fine. But attorneys should understand the implications of copyright law if they take other authors' articles and post them verbatim.
Putting auto-play music videos onto your website may come across as cheesy or unprofessional. Don't run the risk of alienating new clients.
Of course, Hyderally's own snafu should be on the list as well. Don't advertise on your law firm website using a certification seal you haven't earned. It can get you into serious trouble. While Hyderally's mistake seems like it was an inadvertent error, it should be avoided. Proofread your site before you let it go live.
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