Obsolete Date: 8/1/2006
(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 communications including written correspondence and e-mail.
(b) A copy or recording of an advertisement or communication must be kept for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used. For written correspondence and e-mail, a lawyer shall retain for two years from the date of sending a list of addressees. When a lawyer uses recorded voice communications and transmits a communication by telephone call, the lawyer shall retain for two years from the date of the call a record of any telephone number called.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
To assist the public in 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 emerging technologies such as on-line directories, web sites, and e-mail. 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.
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 a prospective client through a real-time electronic exchange that is not initiated by the prospective client.
Neither this Rule nor Rule 7.3 prohibits communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a class in class action litigation.
Record of Advertising
Paragraph (b) requires that a record of the content and use of advertising be kept in order to facilitate enforcement of this Rule. It does not require that advertising be subject to review prior to dissemination.
Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer
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 channeling professional work. 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.
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, and 06/24/03.