New ABA ethics rules target attorney marketing on Internet, social media (Part 2 in a series)

Attorney advertising ethics and social media

I’ll give one example of a potential problem with the new rules and comments here. Rule 7.3 has been changed in several places, and has been renamed. Formerly the rule was titled, “Direct Contact With Prospective Clients.” The new name is “Solicitation of Clients.

Upon first reading, the renaming of the rule 7.3 seems to be the most significant change. I believe it’s a little bit unusual to change the name of a rule. It really wasn’t necessary. One wonders if it reflects someone’s opinion that “direct contact with prospective clients” equates to “solicitation.”

Most of us who represent individuals as clients are familiar with Rule 7.3. That’s the rule that bans solicitation if you have a significant financial motive for the solicitation, except in certain rare cases. You may solicit a lawyer or a person with whom you have a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship. Or you may send a direct solicitation to a person who may need legal services, if you stamp the words “Advertising Material”on an envelope you mail to a potential client, or put the words “Advertising Material” at the beginning and end of any electronic solicitation communication. Although writing “Advertising Material” at the beginning and end of an electronic communication, violation of the solicitation rule can result in potentially serious disciplinary proceedings. [Read more…]

New ABA ethics rules target attorney marketing on Internet, social media (Part 1 in a series)

Attorney advertising ethics on Internet and social networking get clarification from ABA

The ABA House of Delegates voted in August to amend the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct to expressly include attorney Internet advertising ethics rules and add comments regarding attorney solicitation of clients online. ABA Resolution 105B (adopted August 2012) changing attorney advertising ethics rules for online attorney marketing can be viewed here.

The new rules may have been intended to clear up questions about what’s permissible in internet and social media marketing. Unfortunately, the new rules and comments raise questions about compliance, particularly with regard to a lawyer’s use of social media. [Read more…]