Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct
If you are intending to do any internet advertising in Virginia, you will need to look through the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.
You can find more information on this and other requirements in the resources listed below. If you fail to follow the guidelines, the Virginia Bar may need to take some sort of disciplinary action; that’s why it’s so important to have an experienced law firm marketing team to make sure your website and advertisements are up to those standards.
Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct – This resource contains the full list of rules for the state.
Virginia State Bar Ethics Opinions – Have questions after reading through the rules? This resource will help.
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 contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
Rule 7.3 Solicitation of Clients
(a) A solicitation is a communication initiated by or on behalf of a lawyer that is directed to a specific person known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter and that offers to provide, or can reasonably be understood as offering to provide, legal services for that matter.
(b) A lawyer shall not solicit employment from a potential client if:
(1) the potential client has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or
(2) the solicitation involves harassment, undue influence, coercion, duress, compulsion, intimidation, threats or unwarranted promises of benefits.
(c) Every written, recorded or electronic solicitation from a lawyer shall conspicuously include the words “ADVERTISING MATERIAL” on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic solicitation, unless the recipient of the solicitation:
(1) is a lawyer; or
(2) has a familial, personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer; or
(3) is one who has had prior contact with the lawyer.
(4) is contacted pursuant to court-ordered notification.
(d) A lawyer shall not compensate, give, or promise anything of value to a person who is not an employee or lawyer in the same law firm for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may:
(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule and Rule 7.1, including online group advertising;
(2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit qualified lawyer referral service;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17; and
(4) give nominal gifts of gratitude that are neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services.
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