LAWYER ADVERTISING OPINION #A-0105

Advertising of Participation in Lawyer Referral Services



INQUIRY:

The question arises whether and under what circumstances attorneys may advertise participation in lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements.



OPINION:

Attorneys may advertise participation in lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements so long as the advertising is not false, deceptive or misleading. For previous Legal Ethics Opinions concerning lawyer referral services and marketing arrangements, see LEO #926 and LEO #l348.

The Committee is concerned that some advertising concerning lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements are deceptive. Among the deceptive practices observed by the Committee are the following:

l. Advertising participation in a Lawyer Referral Service which is not a true, qualifying Lawyer Referral Service as defined by prior opinions of the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics; see LEOs #926 and #l348;

2. Implying in advertising that a lawyer is selected for participation in a Lawyer Referral Service based on quality of services or some other process of independent endorsement when in fact no bona fide quality judgment has been objectively made;

3. Stating or implying that the Lawyer Referral Service contains all of the lawyers or law firms eligible to participate in the Service by the objective criteria of the Service when in fact the Service is closed to some lawyers or law firms who meet the objective criteria;

4. Stating or implying that there are a substantial number of attorneys or firms participating in the Service when in fact all calls in a geographic area will be directed to one or two attorneys or firms; see LEO #l543;

5. Using the name of a Lawyer Referral Service or joint marketing arrangement in a way which misleads the public as to the true identity of the advertiser.



Committee Opinion

March 29, 1995

LAWYER ADVERTISING OPINION #A-0105

Advertising of Participation in Lawyer Referral Services



INQUIRY:

The question arises whether and under what circumstances attorneys may advertise participation in lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements.

OPINION:

Attorneys may advertise participation in lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements so long as the advertising is not false, deceptive or misleading. For previous Legal Ethics Opinions concerning lawyer referral services and marketing arrangements, see LEO #926 and LEO #l348.

The Committee is concerned that some advertising concerning lawyer referral services and joint marketing arrangements are deceptive. Among the deceptive practices observed by the Committee are the following:

l. Advertising participation in a Lawyer Referral Service which is not a true, qualifying Lawyer Referral Service as defined by prior opinions of the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics; see LEOs #926 and #l348;

2. Implying in advertising that a lawyer is selected for participation in a Lawyer Referral Service based on quality of services or some other process of independent endorsement when in fact no bona fide quality judgment has been objectively made;

3. Stating or implying that the Lawyer Referral Service contains all of the lawyers or law firms eligible to participate in the Service by the objective criteria of the Service when in fact the Service is closed to some lawyers or law firms who meet the objective criteria;

4. Stating or implying that there are a substantial number of attorneys or firms participating in the Service when in fact all calls in a geographic area will be directed to one or two attorneys or firms; see LEO #l543;

5. Using the name of a Lawyer Referral Service or joint marketing arrangement in a way which misleads the public as to the true identity of the advertiser.



Committee Opinion

March 29, 1995