Navigating the bar rules in Illinois for attorney advertising can be a confusing process. If you make a mistake, you might expose yourself to disciplinary actions. For this reason, it is important to hire an internet marketing company that understands the applicable bar rules in Illinois for your website and social media platforms.
If you are preparing to launch a new website or start a new internet marketing strategy, the first step is reading all of the bar rules that might apply. The Rules of Professional Conduct related to attorney advertising were created to ensure that all attorneys that advertise online do so in a fair and honest manner.
Many of the rules related to attorney advertising online in Illinois can be found at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5 in the section for Information About Legal Services. These rules govern the promotion of the law-related services and deal with advertising and solicitation. Additional information can be found in the comments to the rules and formal ethics opinions.
In many respects, the rules track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association. Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's important that you have a thorough understanding of applicable bar rules.
If you are interested in finding an internet marketing and website design company that understands the bar rules, then contact our parent company, Internet Lava, LLC. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss designing a better website and internet marketing strategy.
ISBA Ethics Opinions on Advertising and Solicitation - Visit the website of the Illinois State Bar Association to find ethics opinions on advertising and solicitation. The topics discussed include links appearing on a lawyer’s website, solicitation of personal injury cases, third party vendor lawyer promotion, and profit referral services. Find ethics advice to attorneys in Illinois regarding hypothetical legal situations. Visit the Illinois State Bar Association's website for information pertaining to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, ethics opinions and an ethics hotline. The Illinois Bar Association is located at:
Springfield Office of the ISBA
Illinois Bar Center
424 S. Second Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (217) 525-1760 Chicago Regional Office of the ISBA
20 S. Clark St., Ste. 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Illinois Courts - Find information about the courts in Illinois, rules and laws that regulate the legal system, and opinions on various legal issues by the Supreme Court of Illinois. The Supreme Court of Illinois is located at:
Supreme Court Building
200 E. Capitol
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (217) 782-2035
Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct - Read the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and find information on the rules that regulate attorney website advertisement and marketing.
The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct govern attorney and law firm communications and advertisements that are published on the internet and online. These rules provide general requirements all lawyers and law firms must abide by when engaging in advertising and marketing efforts.
According to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.2, an attorney must include the name and address of at least one lawyer or law firm that is responsible for the content on any communication that is an advertisement, including websites.
According to Rule 7.1 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney or law firm is prohibited from making false or misleading communication about the lawyer or their services.
According to the Rules, an attorney's communication is false or misleading if it contains a misrepresentation of fact or law that is material or the communication fails to include a fact that is necessary to make the statement not materially misleading when taken as a whole.
Additionally, the comments to Rule 7.1 state that misleading truthful statements are also prohibited. A truthful statement can be misleading to the viewer of the website if there is a substantial probability a reasonable person would create a specific conclusion about the attorney's services.
Also, under Rule 7.4, an attorney may state on their website whether they do or do not practice in particular fields of law. However, they may not use the terms, "certified," "expert," "specialist," or any other similar term to describe the attorney's qualifications as a lawyer. If those terms are used on any recognition, awards or certificates issued by an organization, association or agency, the reference must:
The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct state that an attorney's success on behalf of current or former clients may be misleading, and therefore should be avoiding on the attorney's or law firm's website if:
Law firms and lawyers in Illinois should add a disclaimer on each page of their internet website. A disclaimer should, at a minimum, include the following language:
For this reason, special rules apply to Illinois attorneys who have become board certified in a national specialization program.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 31, 2019.