Indiana Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
Attorneys must advertise in the digital age to obtain and maintain clientelle. Firms that are wishing to advertise must consult the Indiana Bar Rules for Professional Conduct relating to Internet marketing set forth by the Indiana Bar. The purpose of these rules is to ensure all lawyers advertise in a fair, honest, and effective manner. Those who do not follow the rules may face a type of disciplinary action.
The first step to making an Internet presence is reading the applicable bar rules pertaining to attorney advertising. Many of the rules related to attorney advertising online in Indiana 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.
Although the rules in the State of Indiana are restrictive, an attorney can stay in full compliance while still having an extremely effective internet marketing campaign. It's important to be ethical in your practice, and following the Rules will leave you to advertise freely. Using the correct key terms, lawyer directories, and search engine algoritihims can help boost your website.
Indiana Bar Rules Resources
Indiana State Bar Association - Visit the Indiana State Bar Association to learn more about advertising restrictions for lawyers. The Indiana State Bar Association is located at:
Indiana State Bar Association
One Indiana Square, Suite 530
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: (317) 639-5465
Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct - Read the Rules of Professional Conduct in Indiana including the rules that pertain to websites and advertsiting online.
Indiana Legal Ethics Opinions - Search legal ethics opinions in Indiana on the website for the Indiana State Bar Association. The ethics opinions give suggestions to attorneys for a variety of hypothetical legal situations in Indiana.
Indiana Supreme Court - Visit the Indiana Supreme Court to find information on various court rules in Indiana and other miscellaneous resources about the judicial system in Indiana. The Supreme Court is located at:
Indiana Supreme Court
315 Indiana State House
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: (317) 232-2542
- Indiana Bar Rule Guidelines
- False and Misleading Information on Indiana Legal Websites
- Permissible Information on Indiana Attorney Websites
- Practice Areas on Indiana Law Firm Websites
Indiana Bar Rule Guidelines
In general, all attorney advertisements and communications are subject to regulation by the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct. These advertisements and communications typically include websites and other content published on the internet by an attorney or law firm.
According to Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, any advertisements must include the name of at least one attorney or law firm responsible for the content on the website, in addition to the office address.
Rule 7.2 also states that the attorney responsible for the advertising content is required to keep a copy of the communication for six years after it has been published.
False and Misleading Information on Indiana Legal Websites
According to Rule 7.1 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, every lawyer is prohibited from making false or misleading communications about their services. The Rule states that an communication may be false or misleading if:
- It omits a fact that is necessary to keep the statement from being misleading when taken as a whole, or
- It contains a material misrepresentation of law or fact.
The comments to this rule also state a truthful statement made by an attorney or law firm may be misleading or deceptive if:
- It is likely to result in a legal action or legal position for the purposes o harassing or maliciously injuring another person;
- It contains data or information based on a previous success or expressly or impliedly predicts the same success in the future;
- It primarily appeals to a viewer of the communication's fear, greed or desire for revenge;
- It contains claims made by a third about the attorney that are false or misleading;
- It compares the services of the attorney to that of another attorney or law firm, unless they can be truthfully verified;
- It contains any reference to past case results that may create an expectation that the attorney is able to achieve the same results in the future;;
- It contains a dramatization or re-creation of event unless the advertisement contains a clear and conspicuous disclosure;
- It contains a representation, testimonial or endorsement about the attorney that is intended or likely to create an unjustified expectation about the lawyer or firm; or
- It states or implies that an attorney is certified or a specialist, unless permitted.
Permissible Information on Indiana Attorney Websites
According to the comments to Rule 7.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney may include any of the following information, as long it is truthful and not false or misleading:
- Name and contact information of the attorney, associates and law firm;
- Attorney date and place of birth;
- Date and place of admission to the state bar and/or federal courts;
- Schools the attorney attended with dates of graduation, degrees and other scholastic distinctions;
- Legal teaching positions;
- Legal publications;
- Any military service;
- Any academic, profession or military positions held;
- Fields of law the attorney practices in;
- Bar professional memberships, societies and associations;
- Offices held in professional memberships or associations;
- The attorney's foreign language ability;
- Technical and professional licenses;
- Legal fraternity and society memberships;
- Professional liability insurance coverage;
- Prepaid or group legal service programs the attorney participates in;
- Whether credit cards or other payment services are accepted;
- Office hours;
- Telephone answering service hours; and/or
- Fees charged and other terms to legal services.
Practice Areas on Indiana Law Firm Websites
As stated in Rule 7.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is permitted to state whether they do or do not practice in certain legal fields. However, an attorney may not state or imply they are a specialist in a particular legal field, unless:
- The attorney has been certified as a specialist by an Independent Certifying Organization that is accredited by the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education, and
- The attorney identifies the certifying organization on the website.
Additionally, an attorney in Indiana is permitted to:
- Use the designation, "Patent Attorney" or something similar if they are admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office; or
- Use the designation, "Admiralty," "Proctor in Admiralty" or something similar if they are engaged in Admiralty practice.
Last updated on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.