Following is the 58th post in a series from Parker Taylor 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,” with the focus on communications regarding a lawyer’s services.
This Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
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 contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the communication considered as a whole not materially misleading.
(b) The Board of Trustees of the State Bar may formulate and adopt standards as to communications that will be presumed to violate rule 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 or 7.5. The standards shall only be used as presumptions affecting the burden of proof in disciplinary proceedings involving alleged violations of these rules. “Presumption affecting the burden of proof” means that presumption defined in Evidence Code sections 605 and 606. Such standards formulated and adopted by the Board, as from time to time amended, shall be effective and binding on all lawyers.
Rule 1-400 in the previous version of CBA’s RPC (titled “Advertising and Solicitation”) contained six subdivisions and twelve sub-subdivisions. In the revised version of CBA’s RPC, the regulations contained in that long rule have been split into five separate (and shorter) rules. Rule 7.1, as set forth above, is the first of those. Subdivisions (D)(1)-(3) of the previous rule have now been compressed into one subdivision – Rule 7.1(a). The information found in the other subdivision of the revised rule – Rule 7.1(b) – used to be in Rule 1-400(E).
The main focus of this rule is prohibiting attorneys from making false or misleading statements about their legal services – whether misrepresenting or omitting pertinent facts.
The corresponding rule in the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Model RPC is a very concise version of the CBA RPC’s Rule 7.1. The information in the ABA’s two-sentence rule is basically the same as CBA’s Rule 7.1(a). The verbiage in subd. (b) of the CBA’s rule (talking about the California State Bar’s Board of Trustees’ adoption of communication standards) is not part of the ABA rule.
Benefit: Generally speaking, any attorney trying to locate information on the rules surrounding miscommunication about their services should now be able to do so more quickly.
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 Taylor 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, Misrepresentation, Legal Advertising, Parker Taylor Law Group, Port Parker