If you are preparing to launch a new website or start a new internet marketing strategy for your law firm, the first step is reading all of the bar rules that might apply. Many of the rules related to attorney advertising in the State of Maine can be found in the section on "Information About Legal Services" that govern the promotion of the law-related services and deal with advertising and solicitation including:
Effective August 1, 2009, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court adopted the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct. Additional guidance can be found in the comments to each rule and the reporter's notes.
Before launching the website, the attorney in Maine should be sure that the website is in full compliance with all applicable bar rules. Any failure to do so can result in a disciplinary action or sanctions against the attorney. For this reason, it is important to hire an internet marketing company that understands the applicable bar rules in Maine for your law firm's website.
Special bar rules apply to attorneys using a lawyer referral service in Maine. In many respects, the rules track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association. Attorneys in Maine who are board certified specialist must also follow special rules when disclosing that fact.
Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's important that you have an 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.
As explained in the comments to the rule, the aspirational goals for lawyer advertising in Maine were intended as suggestions. Rule 7.2-A was adopted by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on February 1, 2005, to “provide assistance to lawyers who seek to know, not what is the minimally acceptable behavior for a lawyer, but rather, what conduct attorneys should aspire to achieve in their efforts to advance the professionalism and credibility of the profession.”
The suggestions help lawyers who wish to advertise their legal services in a way that promotes professionalism within the legal community. Lawyer advertisements in Maine should be presented in an understandable and dignified fashion. The ads should accurately portrays the serious purpose of legal services and the judicial system. Attorneys are advised to "avoid crass representations or dramatizations, hawkish spokespersons, slapstick routines, outlandish settings, unduly dramatic music, sensational sound effects, and unseemly slogans that undermine the serious purpose of legal services and the judicial system."
Attorneys should not make statements, claims, or comparisons that cannot be objectively substantiated. The ads should avoid representations to potential clients that suggest promises of results or will create unjustified expectations such as “guaranteed results” or “we get top dollar awards”.
Maine Rules of Professional Conduct - Visit the website for the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar to read the rules of professional conduct in their entirety with the amendments through November 1, 2014. The Maine Rules of Professional Conduct where adopted by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to take effect on August 1, 2009. The rules should be read with the comments, reporter's notes, and Preamble from the Maine Task Force on Ethics.
Board of Overseers of the Bar
97 Winthrop Street
P. O. Box 527
Augusta, Maine 04332-0527
Telephone: (207) 623-1121
Fax: (207) 623-4175
Crimes for Falsely Advertising to be an Attorney - Visit the website of the Maine Legislature to find Section 859 of Chapter 17 for Attorneys at Law in Title 4 of the Judiciary. Section 859 makes “false advertising or representation to be an attorney” a felony offense. The crime is sometimes called the unauthorized or unlicensed practice of law. The criminal statute provides: "If any person who has not been admitted to practice law in this State or whose name has been struck from the roll of attorneys advertises as or represents himself to be an attorney or counselor at law, he shall be guilty of a Class E crime. [1977, c. 696, §28 (RPR).]"
This article was last updated on Friday, May 31, 2019.