After I published my post this morning, Clio Turns Two, As Lawyers Ease Into the Cloud, a reader wrote to ask why I hadn’t complied with the FTC’s endorsement guidelines and disclosed that Clio is an advertiser. Lest anyone think I am being in any way deceptive, let me address this.

First, Clio is not an advertiser.  I receive no money or anything of value from Clio. (I will confess, however, that I did once win a ClioPad.) The FTC guidelines are intended to address situations in which someone, appearing to be neutral, endorses a product, when in fact the person was paid or given something of value by the company that sells the product.

Second, although Clio is an advertiser on the podcast I cohost, Lawyer2Lawyer, I receive no money or any other form of compensation for my participation in that podcast. I know nothing about the terms of Clio’s sponsorship. Whatever Clio pays — assuming it pays something — goes to the owners of the Legal Talk Network,

Third, I do not consider my post this morning to be an “endorsement.”  The FTC guidelines define an endorsement as describing “opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience.” My post today was not a review of Clio and did not contain any of my own opinions about it. I reported facts about it based on my interview with the company’s owner. I do not use Clio in my own practice or have an account by which to access it.

Had I written a review of Clio and issued a recommendation for or against it, I would have felt compelled to disclose Clio’s sponsorship of my podcast. Even though I get no value from that sponsorship, I can’t deny that it generates good will; I enjoy doing the podcast and I’m glad Clio helps make it possible. But I don’t think my post today had any connection to the FTC guidelines. I neither issued an endorsement of Clio nor received anything of value from it.

Having said all this, I am a strong believer in transparency and disclosure. The simple fact that the reader even had to write to ask suggests that I should have said something in the first place. So I have amended my earlier post to note the sponsorship of the podcast. And I extend my thanks to the reader for raising this important issue.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.