Checklist for Lawyers who Advertise

ADVERTISING REGULATION AND INFORMATION
QUICK REFERENCE CHECKLIST

The following quick reference checklist is intended to assist advertising attorneys in developing ads that comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Please be advised that compliance with the rules identified in the checklist is not a guarantee that the advertisement complies with the advertising rules. Although not required, the bar's Ethics department would be pleased to review your ad in advance. Ads may be sent to adreview@vsb.org.

1. Does the advertisement/communication contain any false or misleading statements? If yes, then the advertisement violates Rule 7.1(a).

            Examples of false or misleading statements include:

(a) A statement that “you pay nothing unless we win” if the client is responsible for costs/expenses as required by Rule 1.8(e) [comment 1]

(b) A statement that a lawyer handles a particular type of case when in fact the lawyer’s only involvement is to intake a client and then refer the client to another lawyer outside the firm [comment 1]

(c) A statement that a lawyer charges a certain fee for a particular type of case when the lawyer does not actually charge that fee in those types of cases [comment 2]

(d) A statement that omits a material fact, such as a statement that “We won a $2 million verdict in this case” when in fact the verdict was overturned on appeal [comment 3]

(e) A statement that an outcome was not or will not be related to the facts or merits of the particular matter [comment 4]

(f) An unsubstantiated comparison of the lawyer’s services or fees with the services or fees of other lawyers [comment 5]

2. Does the communication advertise specific or cumulative case results without the required disclaimer? If yes, then the advertisement violates Rule 7.1(b).

(a) The disclaimer must precede each and every statement of case results and must put the case result in a context that is not misleading, state that case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case, and further state that case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.  The disclaimer must be in bold type face and uppercase letters in a font size at least as large as the largest text used to advertise the case results, and in the same color and against the same colored background as the text used to advertise the case results.

3. Does the advertisement include the name and office address of at least one lawyer responsible for its content, or, in the alternative, has the law firm filed a current written statement identifying the lawyer responsible for the firm’s advertising and the firm’s office address? If yes, then the advertisement complies with Rule 7.1(c).

4. If the communication is a solicitation of a potential client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter, does it conspicuously display the words “ADVERTISING MATERIAL” on the outside envelope or at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication? If yes, then the advertisement complies with Rule 7.3(c).

 

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Updated: Jun 26, 2013