Is Your Website An Advertisement?

A recent ethics opinion from the ISBA Professional Conduct Advisory Opinion (Opinion No. 12-04
January 2012
), primarily regarding the use of “Promotional Material” in lieu of the proper “Advertising Materials”, noted that a law firm website is not a direct solicitation, thus did not need apply the “Advertising Material” label on the site:

While firm brochures (and their modern counterpart, the internet website) are clearly regulated communications under the RPC, and thus subject to prohibitions on false or misleading statements, it should be noted that the labeling requirements of Rule 7.3(c), only apply to communications employed in the direct written, recorded or electronic solicitation of prospective clients known to be in need of legal services. Communications sent in response to requests from potential clients and general announcements do not require the special labeling. RPC 7.3, Comment [7]. Further, nothing in this opinion is intended to imply that firm brochures (or websites) generally are required to be labeled as “Advertising Material.” (For a discussion of issues relating to firm websites, see ABA Formal Opinion 10-457.)

Good to know! However, if you are licensed in other states, or have any questions regarding a specific situation, don’t hesitate to ask the IL ARDC.

About Catherine Reach

Catherine Sanders Reach is the Director of Law Practice Management & Technology at the Chicago Bar Association.