Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation
- Prescreening of Lawyer Advertising
- Advertising Opinions On-line
- Request and Advertising Opinion
Checklist for Lawyers who Advertise
On January 22, 2010, the Virginia Supreme Court approved, effective immediately, a proposed amendment to Virginia Supreme Court Rules Part 6, § IV, Paragraph 10 and Part 6, § II, Rule 7.2(b) that sunsets the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation. The bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is now responsible for responding to opinion requests dealing with issues relating to lawyer advertising and solicitation.
The bar’s Legal Ethics Department provides a primary function in the role of monitoring lawyer advertising and will continue to monitor and alert lawyers of violations or potential violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, primarily Rules 7.1 – 7.5, in an endeavor to help lawyers avoid the disciplinary process. Ethics Counsel will issue non-compliance letters to alert lawyers of problematic electronic advertisements, including Internet, radio, and television advertisements.
Any member of the bar can seek an informal opinion as to whether their advertising material is in compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The advertising material can be submitted to the Legal Ethics Department for review by the ethics staff attorneys. For information on how to submit a request, please contact Kristi Hall at (804) 775-0557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full text of Advertising Opinions can be found at Advertising Opinions. Advertising Opinions are also published in two separate unnumbered volumes of the Michie Code of Virginia (1991 and 1996 added volumes) and are supplemented annually with a pocket part. In addition, the opinions are published in the Virginia Lawyer Register as they are issued. The Geronimo Case Finder and Michie's Law on Disk also include the Advertising Opinions in their CD-ROM libraries. The Virginia Advertising Opinions are included in WestLaw's database. All information identifying the requesting party is redacted prior to publication and is kept confidential.
Legal Ethics Opinions (LEO) are written based on a hypothetical set of facts presented by the requesting attorney and reflect the judgment of the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (Committee). The opinions are not binding on any judicial or administrative tribunal. An LEO applies ethics rules to a hypothetical set of facts and states whether the activity or conduct complies with or violates such ethics rules. The Committee will not decide questions of law, nor will it make any factual determinations. Also, the Committee will not issue an opinion if a prior LEO is dispositive of the inquiry. Finally, the Committee may decline to issue an opinion if the issue or question raised is the subject of collateral litigation or a pending bar complaint. If you need a timely response to a question about lawyer advertising and solicitation, please consult with the Ethics Hotline: (804) 775-0564.
A member of the bar may request an Informal Opinion by completing the “Legal Ethics Opinion Request Form,” which is available for download below*; or you can contact Kristi Hall at (804) 775-0557 or email@example.com to arrange to have the form faxed or mailed to you.
Downloadable Request Form for an Advertising Opinion:
* Request for Opinion (Word doc)
This Checklist will assist lawyers in preparing advertisements that will comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Updated: Jan 18, 2012