Georgia Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
If you are interested in redesigning your law firm's website or starting a new internet marketing campaign, it's essential that you pay attention to the Georgia Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct. Many of the rules related to attorney advertising online in Georgia can be found at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5 in the section for Information About Legal Services. Additional information can be found in the comments and the Ethics Advisory Opinions interpreting the rules.
Although the rules in the State of Georgia are restrictive, an attorney can stay in full compliance while still having an extremely effective internet marketing campaign. Taking an ethical approach to marketing means following the letter and spirit of each rule. Those who violate these regulations may find themselves with fees and possible penalties.
Resources on Rules for Advertising in Georgia
Georgia Bar Association Website - This link is to the Georgia Bar Association's website, which provides information pertaining to Georgia attorneys, general information on the Georgia Bar Association and ethics opinions. The Georgia Bar Association is located at:
State Bar of Georgia
104 Marietta St. NW, Ste. 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Phone: (404) 527-8700
Georgia Ethics and Professionalism - Find more information about the Georgia Bar's rules and disciplinary actions for ethics in Georgia. Gain access to the ethics hotline, dsiclipinary proceedings for those who violate the rules, and the internal rules for the Review Panel.
Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct - This link is to the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, which provides the rules and regulations that attorney must abide by in website advertisement and marketing.
Georgia Supreme Court - This link is to the Georgia Supreme Court, which is the highest state court in Georgia. This link provides access to court rules and regulations, opinions on various legal topics, and information pertaining to the legal system in Georgia. The Supreme Court is located at:
Supreme Court of Georgia
40 Capitol Sq. SW, Ste. 507
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: (404) 656-3470
- Georgia Guidelines on Bar Rules
- Prohibited Statements on Georgia Legal Websites
- Past Case Results on Georgia Attorney Websites
- Georgia Website Disclaimers
The State Bar of Georgia does not have advertising rules that specifically apply to the internet or an attorney's website. Nevertheless, an attorney should understand this type of advertising and marketing is generally governed by the communications and advertising rules in the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.
Rule 7.1 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct address communications that concern a law firm's or lawyer's services, including through the use of advertising and marketing. Under Rule 7.2 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney may advertise their services through any means, including through the use of written or electronic communication, such as attorney websites.
According to the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, at least one attorney's name must be included on the advertisement or communication who is ultimately responsible for the content.
Additionally, under Rule 7.2 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, the attorney or law firm must keep a copy of the website or the website's files for two years after it was last published, in addition to when and where it was used.
As defined in Rule 7.1 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, attorneys are prohibited from using false, deceptive, fraudulent or misleading information in any communication, including websites. A communications can be considered false or misleading if:
- The communication contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law;
- The communication omits a fact that would not make a statement materially misleading when taken as a whole;
- The communication is likely to give a viewer unjustified expectations about the results an attorney can achieve;
- The communication compares the lawyer's services with that of another, unless they can be verified;
- The communication contains information about contingent fees without a disclaimer; or
- The communication contains a statement about no fees unless the client wins, unless there is a disclaimer.
Additionally, under Rule 7.4, an attorney may not state they are a "specialist" in a certain filed of law or "certified" in any communication unless they are actually certified as a specialist through successful completion of a program for specialization, and as long as the statement is not false or misleading. However, an attorney may state they do or do not practice in a particular field of law on the communication.
The comments to Rule 7.1 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct also discuss statements about past case results.
The comments state that anything that could create an unjustified expectation to the view, such as results obtained for a client, past case results, record in obtaining favorable verdicts and damage awards could be misleading or deceptive unless there is a reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances.
In general, every Georgia attorney or law firm should have a disclaimer or disclosure on their website that is presented with equal prominence and legibility as the remainder of the content on the website so potential clients and viewers are not misled as to the results the attorney can achieve.
Additionally, under Rule 7.1, an attorney or law firm's website in Georgia must include a disclaimer if the website contains:
- Any information about contingent fees, or
- The phrase, "no fee unless you win or collect," or a phrase that is substantially similar.
Last updated on Wednesday, October 9, 2018.