Terms and Conditions of Use
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THIS SITE. The term "Pro Bono Net" includes Pro Bono Net. Inc. (the owner and general administrator of www.probono.net), its staff, directors and officers, and the individuals and organizations that serve as hosts of www.massprobono.org and other practice areas. By using this site, you signify your consent to these terms and conditions and you agree to ensure that any person in your company or firm to whom you grant access to this site will abide by these terms and conditions. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of these terms at any time. Please check these terms periodically for changes. Your continued use of Pro Bono Net following the posting of changes to these terms will mean you accept these changes.
1. No Legal Services or Attorney-Client Relationship
The www.massprobono.org website is for lawyers, other legal professionals, law students, and other prospective volunteers who wish to provide free legal assistance to low-income persons. No attorney-client communications or client confidences should be posted on the site. (See (2) for more information about preserving client confidentiality, attorney work product protection and the attorney-client privilege.) Your use of this site does not create any attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between you and Pro Bono Net, Inc. (the administrator and owner of this site) or its employees or between you and the administrators of massprobono.org. Your use of this site also does not create any attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between you and any other user of the site, including the organizations and programs listed as members or posting pro bono opportunities on massprobono.org.
Although this web site may provide information concerning potential legal issues, it is not a substitute for legal advice from qualified counsel. You should not and are not authorized to rely on this web site as a source of legal advice.
Pro Bono Net functions as the equivalent of a continuous seminar attended by attorneys and practitioners. Each member asking a question has, by using the system, undertaken that s/he remains solely responsible for protecting his or her interests and/or those of his or her client. No member shall be entitled to claim detrimental reliance on any views received, or to claim that a member providing answers or substantive materials has any duty to update such material or to use care to protect the interests of the recipient. Each member undertakes to protect his or her client's interests by fitting the information received to the facts and circumstances of the case, by taking whatever steps are necessary to check all information and by personally assuring that the advice s/he provides is based on accurate and complete information and research from any available sources.
2. Preserving Client Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege
You are cautioned that the posting on this site of confidential information relating to a client or case may constitute a breach of your ethical obligation to protect client confidences and may result in a waiver of attorney work product protection and the attorney-client privilege. You are further cautioned that although Pro Bono Net takes steps to prevent likely adversaries (e.g., I.N.S. attorneys) from accessing Pro Bono Net listservs, Pro Bono Net cannot guarantee that your adversaries will not have access to the messages and/or questions you post. Confidential information relating to a client or case, including a client's name, should therefore never be posted on this site.
Confidential client information includes any information relating to a client or case that is (1) not generally known, and is (2) acquired by a lawyer, other legal professional or law student during the course of, or as a result of, the representation of that client. Information relating to a client is deemed not generally known when such information could not be acquired without special knowledge or substantial effort or expense.
Information is typically protected from involuntary disclosure by the attorney-client privilege if the information is gained or shared through (1) a communication, (2) between an attorney and client, (3) made in confidence, (4) for the purpose of obtaining or providing legal advice. The attorney-client privilege can be waived, however, when an attorney-client communication is disclosed to a third party to whom the attorney-client privilege does not extend (i.e., someone other than an agent or associate of the attorney).
Under the attorney work product doctrine, material collected by a lawyer in preparation for anticipated litigation is, in general, protected from discovery by opposing counsel. Attorney work product may be subject to discovery, however, if information that would otherwise have been protected under the work product doctrine is disclosed to a third party (other than an agent or associate of the attorney) and that disclosure significantly increases the likelihood that potential adversaries can obtain the information.
Consistent with preserving client confidentiality, attorney work product protection and the attorney-client privilege, you may discuss on this site general scenarios in the form of hypotheticals, so long as there is no risk that another user of this site who lacks independently acquired information about the matter would be able to identify the client or any unique legal strategy involved. Users with specific questions about a particular client or case should contact the practice area host by email or telephone rather than posting questions on a bulletin board. Similarly, users uncertain about the propriety of posting any question on a bulletin board should refrain from posting the question and should consult the practice area host by email or telephone regarding the confidentiality and privilege implications of the question.
* Can anyone tell me where I might find information regarding . . . ?
* Does anyone know what steps a person living in Massachusetts would need to take in order to divorce someone living in Texas?
* Has anyone had a case that involved [any non-unique fact pattern or issue]?
* My client, Ted Smith, . . . .
* My client told me . . . .
* I have a case against Jane Doe, the lawyer for the XYZ agency . . . .
* I recently learned that a client I am representing in connection with her application for disability benefits lied on her application, what should I do?
Please keep in mind that breaching client confidentiality and/or waiving attorney work product protection and/or the attorney-client privilege can have severe consequences for you and your client. In cases of doubt, do not post the question.
For more information on the scope and meaning of client confidentiality, the attorney work product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege, see, e.g., Geoffrey Hazard and William Hodes, The Law of Lawyering (2d ed. 1998); Charles Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics (1986).
3. Privacy and Confidentiality
Pro Bono Net has adopted a set of information management guidelines which serve as the basis for protecting the privacy of the information on its site. These guidelines have been developed with the recognition that Internet technologies are rapidly changing, and that underlying business models are still not established. Accordingly, guidelines are subject to change. Any such changes will be posted on this page.
Pro Bono Net requires that users supply personal information, including email address, during its registration process prior to using the site. On occasion, Pro Bono Net may collect additional personal information from subscribers through survey forms. Pro Bono Net employs "cookies" to recognize a subscriber and his or her access privileges, as well as to track usage. Demographic information may be combined with site usage reports to profile, in aggregate form, users and their interests.
Using the email addresses provided at registration, Pro Bono Net may periodically send email to the members of this website informing them of services provided by Pro Bono Net and its participating organizations, and the member organizations and programs of MassProBono may from time to time send email to the individual members of MassProBono seeking volunteers for pro bono cases, projects, and other pro bono efforts. Organizations and programs that are members of MassProBono agree not to use this website to solicit financial support from individual members. A website member can indicate that s/he does not wish to receive such email by sending an email to Pro Bono Net and MassProBono.
Pro Bono Net will use reasonable efforts to prevent non-members from accessing information posted on this site that is restricted to members, including electronic mail and postings on the message boards, subject to a reservation of its right to access and disclose any message on the system for the purpose of providing the service, to protect the security or quality of the system or the rights or property of Pro Bono Net or third parties, or as required by law. Except as expressly provided herein or as required by law, Pro Bono Net will not knowingly disclose the contents of private electronic mail or private conference area to anyone other than addressees, authorized recipients, or those to whom such disclosure is necessary to assure forwarding or delivery or the security or quality of the system.
4. Rules Relating to Submission and Deletion of Materials
Pro Bono Net members are entitled to submit memoranda, newsletter articles, outlines and other substantive materials for posting in the appropriate forum or practice area database. In posting works on Pro Bono Net, you are legally responsible for honoring the rights of others, including, but not limited to, intellectual-property rights (copyright, patent, and trademark), the right to privacy, and the right not to be defamed. Pro Bono Net members shall not submit any material that is infringing, defamatory, violative of any applicable law or otherwise detrimental to the system. It is a violation of this agreement to use your Pro Bono Net membership in any way violative of the laws of New York, Massachusetts and/or the United States.
Since the law as to jurisdiction of on-line systems is unsettled, we urge you to consider the possible effect of laws outside Pro Bono Net's location (New York City) or your own residence on your submissions. Pro Bono Net is open to members worldwide (and works published on the World Wide Web, Usenet, or other such services are accessible to anyone on the Internet), and Pro Bono Net cannot guarantee that works you post on this site will not subject you to legal sanctions in other jurisdictions.
Pro Bono Net will delete any materials at the request of the member who submitted the materials. Pro Bono Net reserves the right to delete (or to refuse to post) any materials it deems detrimental to the system. Pro Bono Net reserves the right to edit materials submitted by members.
Pro Bono Net shall be used only in a noncommercial manner by you. By using Pro Bono Net, you agree that you will not, without the express approval of Pro Bono Net, distribute or otherwise publish any material containing any solicitation of funds, promotion, advertising, or solicitation for goods or services. You specifically agree that soliciting other Pro Bono Net members to join or become members of any commercial on-line service or other organization is expressly prohibited.
Each party that submits materials agrees that in uploading files to the system, it will use only computer systems employing reasonable means to check for and prevent the spread of computer viruses.
5. Rules Regarding Copyright on Submitted Materials
In posting a work on a service offered by Pro Bono Net, you authorize other members who have access to that service to make personal and customary use of the work, including creating links or reposting among Pro Bono Net practice areas, but not otherwise to reproduce or disseminate it unless you give permission for such dissemination. You also give permission to Pro Bono Net to copy your works as part of the normal backup process, and to site administrators to archive topics containing your works.
6. No Warranties and Limitation of Liability
(a) Website Content
Information provided on this web site is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or noninfringement. Pro Bono Net periodically adds, changes, improves, or updates the information and documents on this web site without notice. Pro Bono Net assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content of this web site. Your use of this web site is at your own risk. EACH MEMBER BY REGISTERING TO USE THIS SITE WAIVES ANY AND ALL CLAIMS RELATING TO THE USAGE OF THE SYSTEM OR MATERIAL OR INFORMATION MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SYSTEM, WHETHER SUCH CLAIMS ARE AGAINST PRO BONO NET OR ANY OTHER PERSON WHO HAS SUPPLIED MATERIAL TO THE SYSTEM. Under no circumstances and under no legal theory shall Pro Bono Net, its suppliers, or any other party involved in creating, producing, or delivering this Web site's contents be liable to you or any other person for any damages, including but not limited to indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising from your access to, or use of, this web site.
You agree to indemnify and hold Pro Bono Net and its members harmless from any claim arising as a result of your use of the system or the materials you upload or post on the system.
(b) Volunteer Matching, Case Referral and Project Staffing
Certain areas of this site facilitate matching between organizations or programs and volunteers for pro bono cases, projects, and other efforts. Pro Bono Net assumes no responsibility for the matched relationships, the bar registration status of the volunteer, the performance of the volunteer, and/or the actions taken or statements made by either the volunteer or organization/program participants in the match. EACH MEMBER BY REGISTERING TO USE THIS SITE WAIVES ANY AND ALL CLAIMS RELATING TO THE USAGE OF THE SYSTEM OR VOLUNTEERS OR PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SYSTEM, WHETHER SUCH CLAIMS ARE AGAINST PRO BONO NET OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ORGANIZATION WHO HAS SUPPLIED VOLUNTEERS OR PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES TO THE SYSTEM. Under no circumstances and under no legal theory shall Pro Bono Net, its suppliers, or any other party involved in creating, producing, or facilitating matches between volunteers and organizations or programs be liable to you or any other person for any damages, including but not limited to indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising from your access to, or use of, this web site. You agree to indemnify and hold Pro Bono Net and its members harmless from any claim arising as a result of your use of the system to recruit and/or engage volunteers or to find and engage in pro bono opportunities.
(c) Email Groups
Email Groups on MassProBono, including those hosted externally, are provided as a service of Pro Bono Net. Pro Bono Net accepts no responsibility and disclaims all warranties for the opinions, information, and materials posted on this site; this disclaimer includes all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Pro Bono Net be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data, or profits, arising out of or in connection with the use of or reliance on any opinions, information, or material posted on this site.
7. Rules Regarding Pro Bono Net Copyrights
Pro Bono Net retains its copyright in the layout and graphics of this site, the collective and compilation copyrights in all databases and navigation design, and all other content created by employees of Pro Bono Net.
Pro Bono Net authorizes you to view, copy, download, and print the materials on this web site in which it has a copyright for the purpose of fair use, subject to the following conditions:
* The materials may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes.
* The materials may not be modified.
* Any original copyright notice that appears on the work must appear on all copies.
The reproduction, copying, or redistribution of materials in which Pro Bono Net has a copyright for commercial purposes is prohibited without the express written permission of Pro Bono Net. To obtain permission to copy portions of this site, please send e-mail to email@example.com and provide the following information in the body of the email:
* the Pro Bono Net content you wish to use
* where and how it will be used (for example, a book cover, magazine article, a brochure)
* where and how copies will be distributed and to what audience
* how many copies will be produced and distributed
* when you intend to publish
* what other non-Pro Bono Net materials will be associated with the Pro Bono Net content
* your name, title, company, address, email address, and phone number
We will evaluate your request and advise you as soon as possible. Pro Bono Net reserves the right to refuse permission to copy, distribute, broadcast, or publish any of its copyrighted material, including text and images on our web site.
Nothwithstanding anything to the contrary, nothing herein prohibits the use of Pro Bono Net's graphics for the purposes of linking to Pro Bono Net.
8. Rules Regarding Pro Bono Net Service Marks and Trade Dress
Pro Bono Net service marks and trade dress identify Pro Bono Net products and services and let the public know the source of those products and services. You may make fair use of our service marks in referencing our products and services (for example, in a magazine article or in creating a link to Pro Bono Net) without our permission, provided you follow standard trademark usage practices and provide proper attribution. Other uses require our written permission. If you are in doubt as to whether you need our permission for a specific type of use, please ask us.
You may not use Pro Bono Net logos, "design" service marks (as opposed to our service marks consisting solely of words), or trade dress under any circumstances without our prior written authorization; provided, however, you may use Pro Bono Net's "design" service marks for the puposes of linking to Pro Bono Net.
In addition, you may not use Pro Bono Net service marks, whether design or word marks, or trade dress in the following ways:
* in a non-Pro Bono Net service name or publication title
* in, as, or as part of, your own service or trademarks
* to identify products or services that are not Pro Bono Net's
* in a manner likely to cause confusion
* in a manner that implies inaccurately that we sponsor or endorse, or are otherwise connected with, your own activities, products, and services
* as hidden or embedded text in web pages in an effort to cause a search of Pro Bono Net marks to result in a hit on a page not maintained by Pro Bono Net
* in a manner disparaging of Pro Bono Net
9. Links to Third Party Sites
If you use any links in this web site to web sites not maintained by Pro Bono Net, you will leave the Pro Bono Net web site. The linked sites are not under the control of Pro Bono Net and Pro Bono Net is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. Pro Bono Net provides these links to you only as a convenience and the inclusion of any link does not imply recommendation, approval or endorsement by Pro Bono Net of the site, nor does it imply that the linked site recommends, approves of, or endorses Pro Bono Net.
10. Membership and Termination
Membership, both individual and organizational, in MassProBono is at the sole discretion of Pro Bono Net.
Each subscriber is free to terminate his or her membership at any time for any reason. Pro Bono Net may terminate or suspend the privileges of any person or program to use Pro Bono Net and its related services without notice for any reason in its sole discretion, including but not limited to having reached the conclusion that any member has breached these terms or applicable rules. Pro Bono Net shall be free to terminate its provision of this service at any time.
11. Change of Information in the Roster
If any information that was provided by you when joining MassProBono has changed, you must inform us by email. In particular, you must immediately report to us any change in bar registration status or otherwise that affects your ability to legally practice law in Massachusetts or elsewhere.
12. Choice of Forum
These terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without giving any effect to any principles of conflicts of law. You agree that any action at law or in equity arising out of or relating to these terms shall be filed only in the state or federal courts located in New York County and you hereby consent to the personal jurisdiction of such courts for the purpose of litigating any action.
Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to your use of Pro Bono Net, these Terms and Conditions for Pro Bono Net or the breach thereof, will be settled by binding arbitration conducted before one arbitrator who is knowledgeable in computer and cyberspace law. The site of any such arbitration shall be in New York City, New York. The arbitration will be conducted in accordance with the then applicable Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The award rendered by the arbitrator will be binding and conclusive on the parties and judgment upon such award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. Each party will bear its own costs and expenses, including fees and expenses of counsel, associated with the arbitration. The arbitrator will not be empowered to award punitive damages to either party.
These terms and conditions, including any supplemental rules posted on the system, incorporated herein by reference, constitute the complete statement of the agreement between the parties, which supersedes and merges all prior proposals, understandings, and all other agreements, oral and written, between the parties relating to the subject matter hereof.
If any provision of these terms is found to be invalid, void, or unenforceable, the parties agree that the remaining provisions hereof will not be affected thereby, that the provision in question may be replaced by the lawful provision that most nearly embodies the original intention of the parties, and that these Terms and Conditions for Pro Bono Net will in any event remain valid and enforceable.