Following is the 59th post in a series from Parker Law Group about recent changes to the California Bar Association (CBA)’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 7 – “Information About Legal Services,” focusing on regulations governing the ways in which an attorney is allowed to advertise his or her legal services.
This Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
Rule 7.2 Advertising
(a) Subject to the requirements of rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through any written, recorded or electronic means of communication, including public media.
(b) A lawyer shall not compensate, promise or give anything of value to a person for the purpose of recommending or securing the services of the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm, 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 services plan or a qualified lawyer referral service. A qualified lawyer referral service is a lawyer referral service established, sponsored and operated in accordance with the State Bar of California’s Minimum Standards for a Lawyer Referral Service in California;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with rule 1.17;
(4) refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional pursuant to an arrangement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules or the State Bar Act that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if:
(i) the reciprocal referral arrangement is not exclusive; and
(ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the arrangement;
(5) offer or give a gift or gratuity to a person having made a recommendation resulting in the employment of the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm, provided that the gift or gratuity was not offered or given in consideration of any promise, agreement, or understanding that such a gift or gratuity would be forthcoming or that referrals would be made or encouraged in the future.
(c) Any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.
As with the rule discussed in our previous post (Rule 7.1), Rule 7.2 of the CBA’s new RPC – as set forth above – is a revision of the previous RPC’s regulations on advertising. This revised rule, however, only contains information relating to the narrow topic of advertising itself. Other parts of the previous rule, and the topics those cover, can now be found in rules 7.1 and 7.3-7.5. New to this rule is subdivision (a), explaining that an attorney may advertise his or her services through written, recorded, or electronic methods – including the public media. Also new is subd. (c), stating that any communication shall include the contact information for the lawyer or firm who produced the content.
The main portion of this revised rule is contained in subd. (b)(1)-(5), explaining the prohibitions related to an attorney compensating, promising, or giving anything of value to someone interested in securing that attorney’s legal services.
The corresponding rule in the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Model RPC – Rule 7.2 – closely matches the CBA’s current version of Rule 7.2. The exceptions are that subd. (d) of the ABA’s rule mirrors the content in subd. (c) of the CBA’s rule. And subd. (c) in the ABA’s rule – explaining the restrictions affecting an attorney claiming to be a certified specialist – does not appear at all in the CBA’s revised rule.
Benefit: Generally speaking, the narrow focus on advertising in this revised rule can help attorneys locate that information much more quickly than they may have previously been able to do.
The information provided herein is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice or as an agreement for representation. This is not an advertisement. If you have an issue or dispute with your attorney, or are seeking advice with respect to your obligations, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Parker Law Group is a full-service litigation and transactional law firm. Mr. Parker has represented clients in professional malfeasance disputes for over 23 years. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation with Mr. Parker or his team, you can reach them at (916) 996-0400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (An email to the law firm requesting a consultation does not create an attorney-client relationship or any agreement for representation by the firm.)
Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Legal Advertising, Public Media, Parker Law Group, Port Parker