Professional Regulation

Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation

On January 22, 2010, the Virginia Supreme Court approved, effective immediately, a proposed amendment to the Rules of Court that sunset 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 effort 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.

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Prescreening of Lawyer Advertising

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. Submit advertising material to adreview@vsb.org.

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Advertising Opinions On-line

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. Advertising opinions are no longer issued as advertising and solicitation issues are addressed by the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics through LEOs.

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Request an Informal Legal Ethics Opinion regarding Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation

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 or ethicshotline@vsb.org.

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 hall@vsb.org  to arrange to have the form faxed or mailed to you.

Downloadable Request Form for an Advertising Opinion:

* Request for Opinion (Word doc)

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Checklist for Lawyers who Advertise

This Checklist will assist lawyers in preparing advertisements that will comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Updated: Jun 26, 2013