South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct
The purpose of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct is to ensure that your internet advertising is honest and ethical. It’s wise to read through these rules before creating a marketing plan to ensure that everything is established smoothly.
If you happen to make a mistake in this regard, you may subject yourself and your firm to disciplinary actions. A trusted marketing firm can help you in both your planning and executing of advertisements and can help you in your law firm website design in a way that follows all these rules.
For more information on the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, see the resources listed below.
South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct – This resource contains all of the rules for the state.
South Carolina State Bar Ethics Opinions – Have questions after reading through the rules? This resource will be helpful to you.
Key Rules to be Aware of
Rule 7.1 – Communication Concerning a Lawyer’s Services
A lawyer shall not make false, misleading, or deceptive communications about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication violates this rule 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;
(b) 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 Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
(c) compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated;
(d) contains a testimonial about, or endorsement of, the lawyer
(1) without identifying the fact that it is a testimonial or endorsement;
(2) for which payment has been made, without disclosing that fact;
(3) which is not made by an actual client, without identifying that fact; and
(4) which does not clearly and conspicuously state that any result the endorsed lawyer or law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
(e) contains a nickname, moniker, or trade name that implies an ability to obtain results in a matter.
S.C. R. Prof’l. Cond. 7.1
Rule 7.2 – Advertising
(a) Subject to the requirements of this Rule and Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media. All advertisements shall be predominately informational such that, in both quantity and quality, the communication of factual information rationally related to the need for and selection of a lawyer predominates and the communication includes only a minimal amount of content designed to attract attention to and create interest in the communication.
(b) A lawyer is responsible for the content of any advertisement or solicitation placed or disseminated by the lawyer and has a duty to review the advertisement or solicitation prior to its dissemination to reasonably ensure its compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The lawyer shall keep a copy or recording of every advertisement or communication for two (2) years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was disseminated.
(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, which is itself not acting in violation of any Rule of Professional Conduct; and
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.
(d) Any communication made pursuant to this Rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer responsible for its content.
(e) No lawyer shall, directly or indirectly, pay all or a part of the cost of an advertisement by a lawyer not in the same firm unless the advertisement discloses the name and address of the nonadvertising lawyer, the relationship between the advertising lawyer and the nonadvertising lawyer, and whether the advertising lawyer may refer any case received through the advertisement to the nonadvertising lawyer.
(f) Every advertisement that contains information about the lawyer’s fee shall disclose whether the client will be liable for any expenses in addition to the fee and, if the fee will be a percentage of the recovery, whether the percentage will be computed before deducting the expenses.
(g) A lawyer who advertises a specific fee or range of fees for a particular service shall honor the advertised fee or fee range for at least ninety (90) days following dissemination of the advertisement, unless the advertisement specifies a shorter period; provided that a fee advertised in a publication which is issued not more than annually, shall be honored for one (1) year following publication.
(h) All advertisements 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 a city or town, the county in which the office is located must be disclosed. A lawyer referral service shall disclose the geographic area in which the lawyer practices when a referral is made.
S.C. R. Prof’l. Cond. 7.2
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