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Response to Avvo Review Revealed Confidential Information

BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD.

Avvo.com is a website that rates lawyers. Most lawyers have profiles on the site, even if you do not “claim” the profile. Here, a client criticized a lawyer on Avvo and the lawyer made the mistake of responding to the review in detail. The problem was that the response allegedly revealed confidential information.

The ARDC alleges:

20. On or about April 10, 2013, Rinehart posted a second client review of Respondent on AVVO. In the April 10, 2013 posting, Rinehart stated that “I paid Ms. Tsamis $1500 to help me secure unemployment while she knew full well that a law in Illinois would prevent me from obtaining unemployment benefits.”

21. On or about April 11, 2013, Respondent posted a reply to Rinehart’s April 10, 2013 client review. In that reply Respondent stated that: “This is simply false. The person did not reveal all the facts of his situation up front in our first and second meeting. [sic] When I received his personnel file, I discussed the contents of it with him and informed him that he would likely lose unless the employer chose not to contest the unemployment (employers sometimes do is [sic]). Despite knowing that he would likely lose, he chose to go forward with a hearing to try to obtain benefits. I dislike it very much when my clients lose but I cannot invent positive facts for clients when they are not there. I feel badly for him but his own actions in beating up a female coworker are what caused the consequences he is now so upset about.”

22. By stating in her April 11, 2013 AVVO posting that Rinehart beat up a female coworker, Respondent revealed information that she had obtained from Rinehart about the termination of his employment. Respondent’s statements in the posting were designed to intimidate and embarrass Rinehart and to keep him from posting additional information about her on the AVVO website.”

The ARDC has filed a number of internet or social media cases over the past two years, including a case against a lawyer who allegedly plagiarized articles for her website and now a lawyer who made the error of responding to an Avvo review. Here, the lawyer sought to defend her reputation, but, perhaps revealed too much in her response.

Please note that this is a complaint containing allegations that have not been proven. The allegations must be subjected to the test of proof.