Washington DC Rules of Professional Conduct
The DC Bar provides the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, which you should review if you are wanting to update your law firm website. If you fail to keep the rules laid out, the DC Bar may need to take disciplinary action.
With the help of a law firm marketing team, you will be able to follow the DC Bar rules while still having a successful design of your website and marketing strategy. Law Firm Sites will assist you in approaching your advertising in an honest and creative way.
Below you will find more information on the rules and regulations for advertising your law firm in DC.
Washington DC Rules of Professional Conduct – This resource provides the full list of rules for the District of Columbia.
Washington DC Legal Ethics Opinions – Have 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) 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:
(1) Contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading; or
(2) Contains an assertion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services that cannot be substantiated.
(b) A lawyer shall not seek by in-person contact, employment (or employment of a partner or associate) by a nonlawyer who has not sought the lawyer’s advice regarding employment of a lawyer, if:
(1) The solicitation involves use of a statement or claim that is false or misleading, within the meaning of paragraph (a);
(2) The solicitation involves the use of coercion, duress or harassment; or
(3) The potential client is apparently in a physical or mental condition which would make it unlikely that the potential client could exercise reasonable, considered judgment as to the selection of a lawyer.
(c) A lawyer shall not pay money or give anything of material value to a person (other than the lawyer’s partner or employee) in exchange 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 and reasonable fees or dues charged by a legal service plan or a lawyer referral service;
(3) Pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17;and
(4) Refer clients to another lawyer or 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:
(A) The reciprocal agreement is not exclusive, and
(B) The client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.
(d) A lawyer shall not knowingly assist an organization that furnishes or pays for legal services to others to promote the use of the lawyer’s services or those of the lawyer’s partner or associate, or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm, as a private practitioner, if the promotional activity involves the use of coercion, duress, compulsion, intimidation, threats, or vexatious or harassing conduct.
(e) No lawyer or any person acting on behalf of a lawyer shall solicit or invite or seek to solicit any person for purposes of representing that person for a fee paid by or on behalf of a client or under the Criminal Justice Act, D.C. Code Ann. §11-2601 (2001) et seq., in any present or future case in the District of Columbia Courthouse, on the sidewalks on the north, south, and west sides of the courthouse, or within 50 feet of the building on the east side.
(f) Any lawyer or person acting on behalf of a lawyer who solicits or invites or seeks to solicit any person incarcerated at the District of Columbia Jail, the Correctional Treatment Facility or any District of Columbia juvenile detention facility for the purpose of representing that person for a fee paid by or on behalf of that person or under the Criminal Justice Act, D.C. Code Ann. §11-2601 (2001) et seq., in any then-pending criminal case in which that person is represented, must provide timely and adequate notice to the person’s then-current lawyer prior to accepting any fee from or on behalf of the incarcerated person.