Rule 7.2. Advertising.
(a) Subject to the requirements of Rule 7.1, a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communications, including public media, not within the purview of Rule 7.3.
(b) A copy or recording of an advertisement or written communication shall be kept for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used. This record shall include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for its content.
(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyers services, except that a lawyer may pay:
(1) the reasonable cost of advertisements or written communications permitted by this Rule;
(2) the usual charges of a lawyer referral service or other legal service organization; and
(3) for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.
(d) No advertisement or public communication shall contain an endorsement by a celebrity or public figure.
(e) An advertisement or public communication that contains a paid endorsement shall disclose that the endorser is being paid or otherwise compensated for his or her appearance or endorsement.
(f) A non-lawyer shall not portray a lawyer or imply that he or she is a lawyer in any advertisement or public communication; nor shall an advertisement or public communication portray a fictitious entity as a law firm, use a fictitious name to refer to lawyers not associated together in a law firm, or otherwise imply that lawyers are associated together in a law firm if that is not the case.
(g) An advertisement or public communication shall not contain a portrayal of a client by a non-client; the re-enactment of any events or scenes; or, pictures or persons, which are not actual or authentic, without a disclosure that such depiction is a dramatization.
(h) Every advertisement that contains information about the lawyers fee shall be subject to the following requirements:
(1) Advertisements that state or indicate that no fee shall be charged in the absence of recovery shall disclose that the client will be liable for certain expenses in addition to the fee, if such is the case.
(2) A lawyer who advertises a specific fee or hourly rate or range of fees for a particular service shall honor the advertised fee for at least ninety (90) days; provided that for advertisements in media published annually, the advertised fee shall be honored for no less than one (1) year following initial publication unless otherwise stated as part of the advertisement.
(i) All advertisements and written communications shall disclose the geographic location, by city or town, of the office in which the lawyer or lawyers who will actually perform the services advertised principally practice law. If the office location is outside the city or town, the county in which the office is located must be disclosed.
(j) A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly (whether through an advertising cooperative or otherwise), pay all or any part of the costs of an advertisement by a lawyer not in the same firm or by any for-profit entity other than the lawyers firm, unless the advertisement discloses the name and principal office address of each lawyer or law firm involved in paying for the advertisement and, if any lawyer or law firm will receive referrals from the advertisement, the circumstances under which referrals will be made and the basis and criteria on which the referral system operates.
(k) A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, advertise that the lawyer or his or her law firm will only accept, or has a practice limited to, particular types of cases unless the lawyer or his or her law firm handles, as a principal part of his, her or its practice, all aspects of the cases so advertised from intake through trial. If a lawyer or law firm advertises for a particular type of case that the lawyer or law firm ordinarily does not handle from intake through trial, that fact must be disclosed. A lawyer or law firm shall not advertise as a pretext to refer cases obtained from advertising to other lawyers.
(1) To assist the public in learing about and obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising. Advertising involves an active quest for clients, contrary to the tradition that a lawyer should not seek clientele. However, the publics need to know about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising. This need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who have not made extensive use of legal services. The interest in expanding public information about legal services ought to prevail over considerations of tradition. Nevertheless, advertising by lawyers entails the risk of practices that are misleading or overreaching.
(2) This Rule permits public dissemination of information concerning a lawyers name or firm name, address, email address, website, and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyers fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; a lawyers foreign language ability; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.
(3) Questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising are matters of speculation and subjective judgment. Some jurisdictions have had extensive prohibitions against television and other forms of advertising, against advertising going beyond specified facts about a lawyer, or against undignified advertising. Television, the Internet, and other forms of electronic communication are now among the most powerful media for getting information to the public, particularly persons of low and moderate income; prohibiting television, Internet, and other forms of electronic advertising, therefore, would impede the flow of information about legal services to many sectors of the public. Limiting the information that may be advertised has a similar effect and assumes that the bar can accurately forecast the kind of information that the public would regard as relevant. But see Rule 7.3(a) for the prohibition against a solicitation through a real-time electronic exchange initiated by the lawyer.
(4) Neither this Rule nor Rule 7.3 prohibits communications authorized by law, such as a notice to members of a class in class action litigation.
Record of Advertising
(5) Paragraph (b) requires that a record of the content and use of advertising be kept in order to facilitate enforcement of this Rule. It does not require that advertising be subject to review prior to dissemination. Such a requirement would be burdensome and expensive relative to its possible benefits, and may be of doubtful constitutionality.
Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer
(6) Subject to the limitations set forth under paragraphs (c) and (j), a lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by this Rule, but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for recommending the lawyers services or for channeling professional work in a manner that violates Rule 7.3. A communication contains a recommendation if it endorses or vouches for a lawyers credentials, abilities, competence, character, or other professional qualities. Paragraph (c)(1), however, allows a lawyer to pay for advertising and communications permitted by this Rule, including the cost of print, directory listings, on-line directory listings, newspaper ads, television and radio air time, domain-name registrations, sponsorship fees, Internet-based advertisements, and group advertising. A lawyer may compensate employees, agents and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client-development services, such as publicists, public-relations personnel, business-development staff and website designers. Moreover, a lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5(e) and 5.4, and the lead generators communications are consistent with Rule 7.1. To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment form the lawyer, or has analyzed a persons legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral. See also Rule 5.3 for the duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of non-lawyers and Rule 8.4(a). This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyers services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by this Rule.
(7) Paragraphs (d) and (e) require truthfulness in any advertising in which an endorsement of a lawyer or law firm is made. The prohibition against endorsement by a celebrity or public figure is consistent with the purpose of Rule 7.1 to avoid the creation of an unjustified expectation of a particular legal result on the part of a prospective client.
(8) Paragraphs (f) and (g), similarly, require truth in advertising when portrayals are made part of legal advertising. A portrayal, by its nature, is a depiction of a person, event or scene, not the actual person, event or scene itself. Paragraphs (f) and (g) were added to ensure that any portrayals used in advertising legal services are not misleading or overreaching. Creating the impression that lawyers are associated in a firm where that is not the case was considered inherently misleading because it suggests that the various lawyers involved are available to support each other and contribute to the handling of a case. Paragraph (f) accordingly prohibits advertisements that create the impression of a relationship among lawyers where none exists, such as by using a fictitious name to refer to the lawyers involved if they are not associated together in a firm.
Disclosure of Fees and Client Expenses
(9) Consistent with the publics need to have an accurate dissemination of information about the cost of legal services, paragraph (h) requires disclosure of a clients responsibility for payment of expenses in contingent fee matters when the client will be required to pay any portion of expenses that will be incurred in the handling of a legal matter.
(10) Under the same rationale, paragraph (h) imposes minimum periods of time during which advertised fees must be honored.
Disclosure of Geographic Location of Practice
(11) Paragraph (i) requires disclosure of the geographic location in which the advertising lawyers primary practice is situated. This provision seeks to rectify situations in which a person seeking legal services is misled into concluding that an advertising lawyer has his or her primary practice in the clients hometown when, in fact, the advertising lawyers primary practice is located elsewhere. Paragraph (i) ensures that a client has received a disclosure as to whether the lawyer he or she ultimately chooses maintains a primary practice located outside of the clients own city, town or county.
Disclosure of Payment of Advertising Costs
(12) Paragraph (j) prohibits lawyers and law firms from paying advertising costs of independent lawyers or other persons unless disclosure is made in the advertising of the name and address of each paying lawyer or law firm, as well as of the business relationship between the paying parties and the advertising parties.
(13) Advertisements sponsored by advertising cooperatives (where lawyers or law firms pool resources to buy advertising space or time) are considered advertisements by each of the lawyers participating in the cooperative and accordingly will be subject generally to all of the provisions of these Rules on advertising. Advertising cooperatives have been referred to expressly in paragraph (j) to make clear that references to indirect actions are intended to have a wide scope and include advertising cooperatives and similar arrangements. Thus, advertising cooperatives and similar arrangements are permissible, but only if the required disclosures are made. In the case of cooperative arrangements, the required disclosures must include the basis or criteria on which lawyers or law firms participating in the cooperative will be referred cases, e.g., chronological order of calls, geographic location, etc.
(14) Paragraph (k) prohibits a lawyer from misleading the public by giving the impression in an advertisement that the lawyer or his or her law firm specializes in a particular area of the law unless the lawyer or his or her law firm handles the type of case advertised as a principal part of the practice of the lawyer or law firm. For example, where a lawyer advertises for personal injury cases or serious personal injury cases or death cases only those types of cases must, in fact, constitute a principal part of the practice of the lawyer or his or her firm.
(15) Paragraph (k) also prohibits advertising for the primary purposes of obtaining cases that can be referred or brokered to another lawyer. Obviously, a lawyer is permitted and encouraged to refer cases to other lawyers where that lawyer does not have the skill or expertise to properly represent a client. However, it is misleading to the public for a lawyer or law firm, with knowledge that the lawyer or law firm will not be handling a majority of the cases attracted by advertising, to nonetheless advertise for those cases only to refer the cases to another lawyer whom the client did not initially contact. In addition, a lawyer who advertises for a particular type of case may not mislead the client into believing that the lawyer or law firm will fully represent that client when, in reality, the lawyer or law firm refers all of its non-settling cases to another law firm for trial.
The provisions of this Rule 7.2 amended October 22, 2013, effective in 30 days, 43 Pa.B. 6641. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (309470) to (309474).
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