Legal advertising rules are overly restrictive and underenforced, APRL’s report says

On June 22, 2015, the Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Committee of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) issued the 2015 Report of the Regulation. The Committee was created by APRL in 2013 to analyze the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and study the various states’ approaches to regulating lawyer advertising with the goal to bring rationality and uniformity in the regulation of lawyer advertising and disciplinary enforcement. According to the 2015 Report’s executive summary, the rules of professional conduct governing lawyer advertising are, in most jurisdictions, “outdated and unworkable”.

Based on several surveys and data, the Committee concluded that

the practical and constitutional problems with current state regulation of lawyer advertising far exceed any perceived benefits associated with protecting the public or maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, and that a practical solution to these problems is best achieved by having a single rule that prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services. The Committee believes that state regulators should establish procedures for responding to complaints regarding lawyer advertising through non-disciplinary means.

The Committee submitted several recommendations. Among these, it prompted the ABA to consolidate its Model Rules governing communications about legal services into a single disciplinary rule prohibiting false or misleading statements. This, combined with reasonable uniform enforcement might – in the Committee’s view – be the “best way to ensure honest communication by lawyers while at the same time promoting the widest possible access by the public to legal services”.

The 2015 Report of the Regulation of the Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Committee is available at…

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

Follow us on& Like us on