October 03, 2018 Articles

Changes in ABA Advertising Rules—Who Cares?

If your jurisdiction's rules have changed, you need to become familiar with them.

By Lynda C. Shely

Why should anyone even care that the American Bar Association (ABA) amended the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (ER) regarding lawyer advertising and marketing? Those rules don’t regulate anyone—they’re just models! But the goal of having “model rules” is that states will adopt similar versions so that lawyers who practice in more than one jurisdiction—and firms that have offices in multiple jurisdictions—can use marketing that is ethical everywhere.

At present, there is a mélange of state variations in the regulation of lawyer advertising. In fact, one ABA compilation that lists all of the state variations in the advertising rules is over 100 pages long. That is a lot of variation. The variations are not necessary and run counter to three trends that called for simplicity and uniformity in the regulation of lawyer advertising.

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