Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
Your Michigan firm will need to follow the State Bar of Michigan’s advertising rules if you wish to have an online marketing presence. If you’re not careful, you may be subject to disciplinary actions.
Before you make any marketing plan, be sure to read through the rules listed by the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, for any advertisement you have, one lawyer from your firm must be listed with his or her contact information.
These guidelines can be complicated, which is why you’ll want to contact a trusted marketing team that understands the Bar rules to ensure your website and advertisements follow the guidelines listed.
Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct – Here’s the complete list of the rules of professional conduct in Michigan.
Michigan Ethics Opinions – Have more questions after reading the Rules of Professional Conduct? Here’s a helpful resource.
Key Rules to be Aware of
Rule 7.1. Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services.
A lawyer may, on the lawyer’s own behalf, on behalf of a partner or associate, or on behalf of any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm, use or participate in the use of any form of public communication that is not false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive. A communication shall not:
(a) contain a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omit a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading;
(b) be likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or state or imply that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or
(c) compare the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, a lawyer who is a retired or former justice, judge, referee, or magistrate may use the title (“justice,” “judge,” “referee,” or “magistrate”) only when the title is preceded by the word “retired” or “former.” A justice, judge, referee, or magistrate who is removed from office or terminated on grounds of misconduct is prohibited from using the title.
Rule 7.2. Advertising.
(a) Subject to the provisions of these rules, a lawyer may advertise.
(b) 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.
(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services, except that a lawyer may:
(i) pay the reasonable cost of advertising or communication permitted by this rule;
(ii) participate in, and pay the usual charges of, a not-for-profit lawyer referral service or other legal service organization that satisfies the requirements of Rule 6.3(b); and
(iii) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.
(d) For purposes of media advertising, services of a lawyer or law firm that are advertised under the heading of a phone number, web address, icon, or trade name shall identify the name and contact information of at least one lawyer responsible for the content of the advertisement. The identification shall appear on or in the advertisement itself; or, if that is not practical due to space limitations, the identification shall be prominently displayed on the home page of the law firm’s website and any other website used by the law firm for advertising purposes.
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