Attorneys who wish to advertise online or begin a new Internet marketing campaign should read the Missouri Bar rules for advertising online thorugh a website or social media platform. These rules outline the advertising regulations attorneys must follow to be able to market themselves on the Internet. Failure to uphold these rules may result in a type of disciplinary action such as expensive fines.
If you are new to advertising online, reading the applicable bar rules pertaining to attorney advertising is a good start. Many of the rules related to attorney advertising online in Missouri can be found at Rule 4-7.1 through Rule 4-7.5 in the section for Information About Legal Services. Additional information can be found in the comments and the Ethics Advisory Opinions interpreting the rules.
These rules include a requirement that contain advertisements be submitted to the Bar prior to their dissemination. Attorneys in Missouri should review these rules, as well as the "Policies and Procedures for Lawyer Advertising," prior to disseminating or publishing their advertisement.
The purpose of the Bar Rules is for all lawyers in Missouri to advertise fairly and honestly. Those who do not follow these rules may be subject to disciplinary actions.
For this reason, it is important to hire an internet marketing and website design company that understands the applicable bar rules in Michigan for your law firm's website.
Many of the bar rules for attorney advertising 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. Additional guidance can be found in the comments to each rule. In many respects, the bar rules in Missouri track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association.
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.
Rule 4-7.2 - Advertising Rules for Missouri Attorneys - Read Missouri Rule 4-7.2 for Advertising, the comment to the rule, and the supplemental Missouri comment. The last amendments to this rule became effective on July 1, 2010.
Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct - Find the rules for Information about Legal Services located at Rule 4-7.1 for Communication Concerning a Lawyer's Services, Rule 4-7.2 for Advertising, Rule 4-7.3 for Direct Contact with Prospective Clients, and Rule 4-7.4 for Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization.
Supreme Court of Missouri - Visit the website for the Supreme Court of Missouri, which provides opinions of the court on various legal topics, courts and rules of the court, and miscellaneous resources about the Missouri judicial system. The Supreme Court is located at:
Supreme Court of Missouri
207 West High Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone (573) 751-4144
Missouri Informal Advisory Opinions - Search the informal advisory opinions provided by the Missouri Legal Ethics Counsel. The opinions give attorneys legal advice in hypothetical ethical situations.
All attorney advertisements and communications are generally governed by the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct. Advertisements and communications typically include websites and other content published on the internet, in addition to any other advertisement through public media, phone directories, legal directories, newspapers, radio, direct mail and television.
Rule 4-7.2 states that a lawyer or law firm is not permitted to advertise the existence of any other office besides the principal office on their website, unless any of the following apply:
Under Rule 4-7.1 of the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is not permitted to make false or misleading information about the attorney or the services they provide.
The Rules states that a communication made by the attorney may be false if it contains a material misrepresentation of law or fact.
According to the Rule, a communication made by the attorney may be misleading if any of the following apply:
Additionally, the comments to Rule 4-7.1 state that inclusion of certain pricing factors are not discouraged by the rule, but use of the following terms may be misleading:
The comments also state the following scenarios may be misleading to a potential client or viewer of the website:
Under Rule 4-7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct state a specified disclaimer must be included on every legal advertisement, including attorney or law firm websites, except if the communicated information is limited to:
Any other advertisement must include the following disclaimer:
Rule 4-7.1 also states an additional disclaimer must be used in the situations listed below. If a disclaimer is not conspicuously used, the statement, advertisement or communication may be considered misleading.
A disclaimer is generally considered conspicuous in Missouri if it is of the same size, color, contrast, cadence, duration, location or audibility that an ordinary person can notice, hear, read or understand it.
According to Rule 4-7.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is permitted to state whether they do or do not practice in particular fields of law. However, an attorney may not state or imply they are a specialist in a particular legal field, unless:
For this reason, attorneys in Missouri who are board certified specialist must also follow special rules when disclosing that fact. Special bar rules also apply to attorneys using a lawyer referral service in Missouri.
An attorney is generally responsible for the conduct of his non-attorney employees and independent contractors if the attorney orders the conduct, ratifies the conduct, or knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action. Therefore, it is important for attorneys to choose a website design and internet marketing company carefully.
At Internet LAVA, LLC, our team focuses exclusively on building websites and internet marketing campaigns for attorneys and legal professionals. Our team builds websites for attorneys in a wide variety of practice areas such as criminal defense, personal injury, immigration, bankruptcy and employment law. Call Internet LAVA, LLC, to discuss designing your law firm's website or launching a new internet marketing campaign.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 31, 2019.