A Call for Changes to Lawyer Advertising Rules

The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) approved a report issued by the Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Committee on June 22, 2015 that calls for sweeping changes to the lawyer advertising rules.

Following two years of research, including surveys of consumers and lawyers, the Committee concluded that the hodge podge approach to states’ ethical rules governing lawyer advertising poses practical and constitutional problems that “far exceed any perceived benefits associated with protecting the public or maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, and that a practical solution to these problems is best achieved by having a single rule that prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services.”

The committee found that “a practical solution to these problems is best achieved by having a single rule that prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services” under Rule 8.4 (c). The Committee report contains proposed revisions to ABA Model Rules 7.1 (“Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services”), 7.2 (“Advertising”), 7.4 (“Communications of Fields of Practice and Specialization”) and 7.5 (“Firm Names and Letterheads”). The proposed revisions retain the standard of prohibiting “false and misleading” communications.

Currently, each state has its own ethical rules on advertising. States have adopted the ABA rules in whole, in part or not at all, and impose varying degrees of discipline for not complying. With the evolution of technology, methods of marketing and advertising are constantly changing, making it daunting for lawyers to keep with the times in fear of running afoul of disciplinary authorities. Stay tuned as to whether the ABA (and/or any state) takes steps in consideration of APRL’s recommendations.

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Erika Kubik

Erika Kubik

Former Communications Specialist at Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
Erika is the former Communications Specialist for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. She successfully developed strategies to increase 2Civility’s social presence across channels. As a recent graduate of Bradley University, Erika received her Bachelor of Arts studying Public Relations and Social Media Marketing where her passion for writing and brand development took flight. Outside of the office, Erika works to develop her own personal brand as she takes on Chicago for the first time having grown up just outside of the Greater St. Louis area. Though she may not be accustomed to the deep dish pizza as a Celiac, she has found the Windy City to be quite accommodating to her active lifestyle as a runner and fitness fanatic.
Erika Kubik

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