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Maryland Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

The rules in the State of Maryland for attorney advertising are codified in the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct. The bar rules in Maryland govern attorney advertisement. Before redesigning your law firm's website or beginning a new internet marketing campaign, it is important to read the rules in their entirety. 

Many of the rules related to attorney advertising in the State of Maryland 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:

  • Rule 19–307.1. Communications Concerning an Attorney's Services (7.1)
  • Rule 19–307.2. Advertising (7.2)
  • Rule 19–307.3. Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (7.3)
  • Rule 19–307.4. Communication of Fields of Practice (7.4)
  • Rule 19–307.5. Firm Names and Letterheads (7.5)

Additional guidance can be found in the comments to each rule and the reporter's notes. In many respects, the rules track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association.

Before launching the website, the attorney in Maryland should make sure that the website is in full compliance with all applicable bar rules. Any failure to do so can result in 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 Maryland for your law firm's website.

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.

Maryland Bar Rules Resources

The Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. - Visit the Maryland State Bar Association's (MSBA) website which provides information about the bar association and legal information to attorneys in Maryland, including the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, ethics opinions, and miscellaneous information pertaining to the practice of law in Maryland. The Maryland State Bar Association is located at:

520 W. Fayette Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: (410) 685-7878

Maryland Court of Appeals - Visit the website for the Court of Appeals which is the highest state court in Maryland. Read reported and unreported court opinions regarding the court system in Maryland. The Court of Appeals is located at:

Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: (410) 260-1500

Maryland Ethics Opinions - Find opinions on attorney ethical situations in Maryland provided by the Maryland State Bar Association.

Maryland Bar Rules Information Center

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General Guidelines Maryland Bar Rules Guidelines

In general, an attorney in Maryland is permitted to advertise their services through the use of public media, including websites.

According to Rule 19–307.2 of the Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is required to keep a copy of an advertisement or communication for at least three years after it was last used, along with a record of when and where it was used.

Additionally, Rule 19–307.2 states that any advertisement or communication made by the attorney must contain the name of at least one lawyer who is responsible for the content.

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False and Misleading Information on Maryland Law Firm Websites

According to Rule 19–307.1 of the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney's website cannot contain any statements or claims about the attorney or their services that are false or misleading. Statements can be false or misleading if:

  • The communication contains any material misrepresentation of law or fact;
  • The communication omits any fact necessary to not make the statement materially misleading when taken as a whole;
  • The communication is likely to create an unjustified expectation about the results the attorney can achieve; or
  • The communication compares the services of the attorney with that of another, unless the statement can be verified.

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Maryland Attorney Website Disclaimers

Although there is not a bar rule in Maryland that specifically states whether an attorney's website should include a disclaimer, as a general rule, all attorneys should have some type of disclaimer or other qualifying language on their website so as not to create an unjustified expectation to the viewer of the website or any potential clients.

A disclaimer or disclosure that is appropriate should appear in the same manner, with equal prominence and with the same legibility as other content on the website.

Rule 19–307.2 states that any advertisement that states no fee will be charged, must include whether the client will be responsible for any expenses. To not include this disclaimer could be considered false and misleading.

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Practice Areas on Maryland Lawyer Websites

Attorneys in Maryland who are board certified specialist must also follow special rules when disclosing that fact. According to Rule 7.4 of the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney or law firm is permitted to indicate on their website whether they do or do not practice in a particular field of law.

However, an attorney may not state they are a specialist, specializes in or is certified in an area of law, unless they are admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In this instance, they can state they are a "Patent Attorney" or something else that is substantially similar.

Special bar rules also apply to attorneys using a lawyer referral service in Maryland.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 31, 2019.