Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct
Reading through the Rhode Island Bar Rules before you plan your internet marketing strategy or update your law firm website will be very beneficial and helpful to you. If you do not follow those rules, you may be subject to disciplinary actions.
To avoid any issues with your internet marketing, consider hiring the marketing team at Law Firm Sites who can help create a website and marketing plan that is both effective and ethical.
More information about the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct can be found below.
Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct – This resource contains all of the rules for the state.
Rhode Island State Bar Ethics Opinions – Have more questions after reading through the rules? This is a helpful resource.
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. A communication is false or misleading if it: (a) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading; Revised June 2017
(b) contains any testimonial about, or endorsement of, the lawyer without identifying the fact that it is a testimonial or endorsement, and if payment for the testimonial or endorsement has been made, that fact must also be disclosed. If the testimonial or endorsement is not made by an actual client that fact must also be identified. If the testimonial or endorsement appears in a televised advertisement, the foregoing disclosures and identifications must appear continuously throughout the advertisement;
(c) contains a dramatization or simulated description of the lawyer, partners or associates, offices or facilities, or services without identifying the fact that the description is a simulation or dramatization. If the dramatization or simulated description appears in a televised advertisement, the fact that it is a dramatization or simulated description must appear continuously throughout the advertisement. (As adopted by the court on February 16, 2007, eff. April 15, 2007.)
Rule 7.2. Advertising.
(a) Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media.
(b) A copy of each print advertisement (other than yellow page advertisements), a recording of each radio advertisement, and a videotape of each television advertisement shall be sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel prior to or within 48 hours of the first dissemination of such advertisement and another copy of each print advertisement (including yellow page advertisement), recording of each radio advertisement and videotape of each television advertisement shall be retained by the lawyer for three years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used.
(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may
(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;
(2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit lawyer referral service;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17; and
(4) refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if
(i) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and
(ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.
(d) Any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.
(e) Lawyer advertising or written communications which indicate that no fee will be charged if no recovery, shall also state conspicuously if the client will be responsible for costs or expenses regardless of outcome.
(f) Any lawyer or law firm who advertises that his or her practice includes or concentrates in particular fields of law and then refers the majority of cases in those fields of law or of that type to another lawyer, law firm or group of lawyers shall clearly state the following disclaimer:
(1) “Most cases of this type are not handled by this firm, but are referred to other attorneys.”, or if applicable:
(2) “While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principal responsibility.” (As adopted by the court on February 16, 2007, eff. April 15, 2007.)