Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct
The Georgia State Bar’s rules for internet advertising and marketing can be daunting and confusing, which is why you should consider hiring a marketing firm that can help you navigate through all the regulations.
For example, your firm is required to keep documentation of any advertisement of yours (including where it was advertised) for at least two years since its last publish date.
To read more on the Georgia Bar’s rules for advertising, look through the resources listed below.
Georgia Ethics and Professionalism – This resource provides links to many helpful documents, including ethics and discipline for Georgia lawyers.
Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct– The complete list of rules for Georgia, which includes rules regarding advertising and marketing.
Georgia Supreme Court – This website contains many links to rules, court addresses, and and other helpful resources.
Key Rules to Be Aware Of
RULE 7.1 COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING A LAWYER’S SERVICES
- A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. By way of illustration, but not limitation, a communication is false or misleading if it:
- contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading;
- is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
- compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services unless the comparison can be factually substantiated;
- fails to include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for its content; or
- contains any information regarding contingent fees, and fails to conspicuously present the following disclaimer:”Contingent attorneys’ fees refers only to those fees charged by attorneys for their legal services. Such fees are not permitted in all types of cases. Court costs and other additional expenses of legal action usually must be paid by the client.”
- contains the language “no fee unless you win or collect” or any similar phrase and fails to conspicuously present the following disclaimer:”No fee unless you win or collect” [or insert the similar language used in the communication] refers only to fees charged by the attorney. Court costs and other additional expenses of legal action usually must be paid by the client. Contingent fees are not permitted in all types of cases.
- A public communication for which a lawyer has given value must be identified as such unless it is apparent from the context that it is such a communication.
- A lawyer retains ultimate responsibility to insure that all communications concerning the lawyer or the lawyer’s services comply with the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.
The maximum penalty for a violation of this rule is disbarment.
RULE 7.2 ADVERTISING
- Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through:
- public media, such as a telephone directory, legal directory, newspaper or other periodical;
- outdoor advertising;
- radio or television;
- written, electronic or recorded communication.
- A copy or recording of an advertisement or communication shall be kept for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used.
- Disclosure of identity and physical location of attorney. Any advertisement shall include the name, physical location and telephone number of each lawyer or law firm who paid for the advertisement and who takes full personal responsibility for the advertisement. In disclosing the physical location, the responsible lawyer shall state the full address of the location of the principal bona fide office of each lawyer who is prominently identified pursuant to this paragraph. For the purposes of this Rule, a bona fide office is defined as a physical location maintained by the lawyer or law firm from which the lawyer or law firm furnishes legal services on a regular and continuing basis. In the absence of a bona fide physical office, the lawyer shall prominently disclose the full address listed with the State Bar of Georgia or other Bar to which the lawyer is admitted. A lawyer who uses a referral service shall ensure that the service discloses the location of the lawyer’s bona fide office, or the registered bar address, when a referral is made.
- Disclosure of referral practice. If the lawyer or law firm will refer the majority of callers to other attorneys, that fact must be disclosed and the lawyer or law firm must comply with the provisions of Rule 7.3(c) regarding referral services.
- Disclosure of spokespersons and portrayals. Any advertisement that includes a non-attorney spokesperson, portrayal of a lawyer by a non-lawyer, portrayal of a client by a non-client, or any paid testimonial or endorsement, shall include prominent disclosure of the use of a non-attorney spokesperson, portrayal of a lawyer by a non-lawyer, or of a client by a non-client.
- Disclosures regarding fees. A lawyer or law firm advertising any fixed fee for specified legal services shall, at the time of fee publication, have available to the public a written statement clearly describing the scope of each advertised service, which statement shall be available to the client at the time of retainer for any such service.
- Appearance of legal notices or pleadings. Any advertisement that includes any representation that resembles a legal pleading, notice, contract or other legal document shall include prominent disclosure that the document is an advertisement rather than a legal document.Prominent disclosures. Any advertisement for legal services directed to potential clients in Georgia, or intended to solicit employment for delivery of any legal services in Georgia, must include prominent disclosures, clearly legible and capable of being read by the average person, if written, and clearly intelligible by an average person, if spoken aloud, of the following:
The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is a public reprimand.