April 18, 2017 Top Story

Proposed ABA Model Rule Changes Address Social Media Advertising

Advertising rule revisions aim to reduce ethical risks of online communications

By Amy Mattson

Proposed amendments to the ABA Model Rules governing attorney advertising would embrace a "false and misleading" standard for attorney advertisements, replacing the more detailed rules presently in place. The proposed modifications seek to reverse the trend toward greater regulation of ever-evolving technology and address concerns about overly restrictive and inconsistent state advertising rules. If adopted, the new standards would make it easier for lawyers to navigate social media by limiting the risk that they will run afoul of ethics rules, say ABA Section of Litigation leaders.

Proposal Reduces Restrictions on Online Advertising

The proposed revisions would consolidate current Model Rules 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 into two directives covering attorney advertising. Proposed Model Rule 7.1 ("Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services") would incorporate much of current Model Rule 7.2 regarding attorney advertising. Proposed Model Rule 7.2 ("Solicitation") would revise and consolidate the current Model Rules governing solicitation of clients, communications regarding fields of practice and specialization, and firm names and letterheads.

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