RULE 7.2 ADVERTISING

Effective Date: 3/1/2016

(a) Subject to the requirements of Rule 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may market and advertise legal services through media, including published and on-line directories; newspapers, newsletters and other periodicals; outdoor advertising; electronic advertising, including radio, television, video and the Internet; and through text-based written and electronic communications.

(b) Any communication made pursuant to this Rule must include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its contents.

(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services, except that a lawyer may

(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;

(2) pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit lawyer referral service or legal service organization; and

(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.

Comment

[1] To assist the public in learning about and obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to provide information about their services through various forms of marketing and advertising. The public's need to gain information about legal services can be fulfilled in part through marketing and advertising methods. These methods engage traditional media such as the Yellow Pages, newspapers and television, as well as electronic technologies. Although information about legal services can benefit all types of clients, the need for information is particularly acute among clients who may be unfamiliar with legal services. While the need for information justifies the use of advertising, it, at the same time, increases the risk of misleading or overreaching endeavors.

[2] Television is now one of the most powerful media for getting information to the public; prohibiting television advertising, therefore, would impede the flow of information about legal services to many sectors of the public. Limiting the information that may be advertised has a similar effect and assumes that the bar can accurately forecast the kind of information that the public would regard as relevant. Similarly, electronic media, such as the Internet, can be an important source of information about legal services, and lawful communication by electronic mail is permitted by this Rule. But see Rule 7.3(a) for the prohibition against the solicitation of anyone known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter through a real-time electronic exchange that is not initiated by the person.

[3] Neither this Rule nor Rule 7.3 prohibits communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a class in class action litigation.

Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer

[4] A lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by this Rule and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of Rule 1.17, but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for recommending the lawyer's services or for channeling professional work in a manner trhat violates Rule 7.3. A communication contains a recommendation if it endorses or vouches for a lawyer's credentials, abilities, competence, character, or other professional qualities. Moreover, a lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5(e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), and the lead generator's communications are consistent with Rule 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer's services). To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person's legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral. This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyer's services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in not-for-profit lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by this Rule.

Rule 7.2 amended effective 03/01/97, 03/01/04, 08/01/06, 03/01/16.

Reference: Minutes of Joint Committee on Attorney Standards on 06/08/99, 09/16/99, 11/19/99, 03/23/00, 06/13/00, 09/15/00, 11/17/00, 06/11/02, 09/12/02, 11/15/02, 06/24/03, 06/10/14, 09/12/14.

Effective Date Obsolete Date
03/01/2016 View
08/01/2006 03/01/2016 View
03/01/2004 08/01/2006 View
03/01/1997 03/01/2004 View