ABA Lawyer Advertising Rules Open for Public Comment

lawyer advertising rules public commentSince 2015, various individuals and organizations have been working to streamline the lawyer advertising rules. However, significant process has not been made. 

The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct govern how lawyers are permitted to market their services to clients, dictating the do’s and don’ts of how a lawyer can describe his/her service offerings. Ultimately each state supreme court has the final say in how their states will address advertising, but many defer to the Model Rules when setting the standard.  

As alternative legal service providers, online referral services, and other forms of new technology arise, the lawyer advertising rules continue to remain a hot button issue in the profession. 

Since we last provided an update in 2017, two additional sets of draft amendments were proposed by the ABA Ethics Committee one in October and another in December of last year. 

At this year’s ABA Mid-Year Meeting, held last weekend in Vancouver, the most recent draft of the lawyer advertising rules and its supporting memo had people talking yet again. The ABA Ethics Committee hosted a public forum on February 2nd to discuss the most recent set of changes to Model Rule 7.1 through 7.5.  

Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Jayne Reardon, attended this forum. Her recount of the meeting discussing the lawyer advertising rules, summarizes the ABA’s most recent proposal and captures the temperature of the lawyers at the forum. 

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility approved the current working draft of the proposed amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct on advertising and solicitation. However, these are not final.  

The Ethics Committee opened a public comment period earlier this year and urges lawyers to provide feedback on the proposed advertising rules. All written comments must be submitted by March 1, 2018.  

Comments may be emailed to modelruleamend@americanbar.org. 

Once the comment period closes, the Ethics Committee will review suggestions and draft a resolution and report amending the Model Rules for the ABA Annual Meeting in August. At the August meeting, the ABA House of Delegates will review and give the final verdict. 

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