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Bar Association Civility Code Provisions Addressing Advertising, Marketing and Client Development

Eight codes include some variation of the provision: "I will be mindful of the need to protect the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public and will be so guided when considering methods and content of advertising."

These jurisdictions include: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, Baton Rogue, Mobile, Cleveland and Middlesex (CN).

The Multnomah Bar Association and Oregon State Bar had similar provisions, stating "We will avoid advertising that is not fair, factual and informative" Oregon adds to this, "...sensitive to the recipients, or beneficial to the public."

The Burlington County Bar Association and the Camden County Bar Association have nearly identical provisions, stating, "I have an obligation to enhance the image of the legal profession. I will be so guided in my comments about the judiciary, opposing counsel or the members of any other profession, and in the methods and contents of any advertising which I may pursue."

Six other bars have unique provisions as follows:

The Supreme Court of Ohio Lawyer's Aspirational Ideals states, "As to the public and our system of justice, I shall aspire to consider the effect of my conduct on the image of our system of justice, including the effect of advertising methods."

The Florida Bar Ideals and Goals of Professionalism state, "When considering whether to advertise and what methods of advertising to use, a lawyer's first goal should be to promote and protect public confidence in a just and fair legal system founded on the rule of law."

Sacramento County Bar Association Standards of Professional Conduct, Section 12 states, in part, "Lawyers shall, when making public communications shall at all times and under all circumstances reflect appropriate civility, professional integrity, personal dignity, and respect for the legal system..."

Massachusetts Bar Association Statement on Lawyer Professionalism states, "Lawyers should be sensitive to the legal profession's tradition of restraint in the area of self-promotion and should engage only in tasteful and honest promotion of legal services."

The El Paso County Bar Association Code of Professional Courtesy includes a provision that states, "In advertising for legal services, I will endeavor to serve the interests and concerns of the public and the Bar as a whole and be fair, objective, factual and informative. I will only advertise in a restrained, responsible and inoffensive manner with due sensitivity to those to whom it is directed."

The Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association's Tenets of Professionalism includes the provision, "We will adhere to the proposition that law firm marketing practices shall be governed by the principals of honesty and integrity."

Finally, the Waterbury (CT) Bar Association has developed Approved Standards for Attorney Selection, consisting of a multi-page list of voluntary standards for client development and information about how consumers should find a lawyer.

For additions or modifications to this information, contact Art Garwin.