Mississippi Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

Before you launch a new website or internet marketing strategy, be sure to read all of the Mississippi Bar rules related to attorney advertising. These rules outline the dos and don'ts an attorney must follow to market online. The purpose of the Bar Rules is for all lawyers to advertise fairly and honestly. Those who do not follow these rules may be subject to disciplinary actions such as expensive fees.

The Bar Rules for advertising may seem incredibly limiting for attorneys. Especially if you don't have a background in marketing. However, there are multiple ways to maintain a strong Internet presence. Using the approrpriate search terms, participating in lawyer referral services, understanding search engine algoritihims, and having a navigable site are all relevant tools and techinques for Mississippi lawyers to market online. 

Additional Resources

Rule 7.5 for Lawyer Advertising in Mississippi - Visit the Mississippi Bar website for information on policies and procedures for lawyer advertising, a checklist for compliance, and frequently asked questions.

MS Rules of Court - Visit the website of the Supreme Court of Mississippi to read the rules of court in their entirety. Find the rules of Professional Conduct that contains advertising rules and other rules for how attorneys must interact. 

Mississippi Lawyer Advertising Checklist

Rule 7.5(c)(1-4) of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) sets out a checklist of times necessary for each type of advertisement.

The copy of the ad must be submitted in the form in which it is being disseminated to the public or published. For instance, a copy of a video must be submitted as a video. An audio must be submitted as an audio. A print advertisement must be submitted in print. A photograph must be submitted as a photograph. Outdoor advertisements such as a billboard must be submitted in a photograph or other accurate replicas.

For video or audio files, a written transcript of the ad must also be submitted.

Submission Requirements for Attorney Ads

One of the most common mistakes for advertising by law firms resolves around the submission requirements. In Mississippi, certain policies and procedures exist for the submission of advertisements to the Office of General Counsel for the Mississippi Bar (OGCMB). The rules were approved by Order of the Supreme Court of Mississippi on December 9, 2004. The Office of General Counsel of the Mississippi Bar has promulgates rules for the submission of advertisements by attorneys in Mississippi.

Prior to the first dissemination of the ad, the copy or recording of the ad must be submitted to the OGCMB. The fees required for the submissions depend on whether it is failed timely or not. The submission must be filed prior to the "first dissemination" in order for it to be considered timely. For a timely filed submission, the fee is $25. For an untimely submission, the fee is $150.

The Mississippi Bar rules define an advertisement as an "active quest for clients involving a public or non-public communication." The term "advertisement" includes communications over the "telephone, television, radio, motion picture, computer-accessed communication, newspaper, sign, directory, listing or though written communication." See Rule 7.2(a), MRPC.

Certain types of advertisements are exempt from the submission requirement as provided in Rule 7.5(b). The type of ads that are exempt can include telephone directory advertisement, certain types of notices or announcement, business cards or letterhead, signage at the office, paid listings in law directories addressed primarily to other legal professionals, many types of internet web pages, some informative or scholarly writings, mailings to existing or former clients, written communications sent to the viewer upon request. The exemptions also apply to ads that "contains no illustrations and no information other than that set forth in Rules 7.2 and 7.4."

This article was last updated on October 10, 2018.