Before starting a new internet marketing strategy, read the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct related to attorney advertising found at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5 including:
These rules in New Hampshire track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association.
If you want to understand the applicable bar rules for attorney advertising then it is important to read each rule in its entirety. Additional information can be found in the comments and the Ethics Advisory Opinions interpreting the rules.
Although the rules in the State of New Hampshire are restrictive, an attorney can stay in full compliance while still having an extremely effective internet marketing campaign. Taking an ethical approach to marketing means following the letter and spirit of each rule.
For this reason, you need an attorney website design and internet marketing company that understands the bar rules in New Hampshire for attorney marketing. Contact our parent company, Internet Lava, LLC, to discuss designing a better website and internet marketing strategy for your law firm.
According to Rule 7.2. of the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct for Information About Legal Services, there are some situations in which it is permissible for an attorney to pay another entity to refer them a case.
Attorney advertisements can take all forms including having a website, adding information about the firm to an online commercial directory of attorneys, or buying "pay per click" ads.
Online attorney directories, in particular, provides a convenient way for the public to find a qualified attorney in New Hampshire. One of the oldest ways of getting referrals came from the bar association itself through their Lawyer Referral Program in New Hampshire.
The rules for attorney referrals by an LRS can be found in Comment 6 of Rule 7.2 explains:
 A lawyer may pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A legal service plan is a prepaid or group legal service plan or a similar delivery system that assists people who seek to secure legal representation.
A lawyer referral service, on the other hand, is any organization that holds itself out to the public as a lawyer referral service. Such referral services are understood by the public to be consumer-oriented organizations that provide unbiased referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation and afford other client protections, such as complaint procedures or malpractice insurance requirements. Consequently, this Rule only permits a lawyer to pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service.
A qualified lawyer referral service is one that is approved by an appropriate regulatory authority as affording adequate protections for the public. See, e.g., the American Bar Association's Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral Services and Model Lawyer Referral and Information Service Quality Assurance Act (requiring that organizations that are identified as lawyer referral services
(i) permit the participation of all lawyers who are licensed and eligible to practice in the jurisdiction and who meet reasonable objective eligibility requirements as may be established by the referral service for the protection of the public;
(ii) require each participating lawyer to carry reasonably adequate malpractice insurance;
(iii) act reasonably to assess client satisfaction and address client complaints; and
(iv) do not make referrals to lawyers who own, operate or are employed by the referral service.)
Comment 7 provides:
A lawyer who accepts assignments or referrals from a legal service plan or referrals from a lawyer referral service must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the lawyer's professional obligations. See Rule 5.3. Legal service plans and lawyer referral services may communicate with the public, but such communication must be in conformity with these Rules. Thus, advertising must not be false or misleading, as would be the case if the communications of a group advertising program or a group legal services plan would mislead the public to think that it was a lawyer referral service sponsored by a state agency or bar association. Nor could the lawyer allow in-person, telephonic, or real-time contacts that would violate Rule 7.3.
New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct- Find an online index for the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct including the rules related to advertising found at Rules 7.1 through Rule 7.5.
Ethics Opinions & Guidance - Read the published opinions published by the New Hampshire Bar Association (NHBA) Ethics Committee. Find more information about the Bar rules through NHBA opinions as they analyze and evaluate the Rules of Professional Conduct. The opinions are received and reviewed by the Board of Governors of the Bar Association. The NHBA Ethics Committee produces the Ethics Corner and Practical Ethics articles that analyze and apply the Rules to issues or situations determined by the Committee to be of general interest to the Bar. Read more about the New Hampshire Bar Association.
Rule 7.2 for Advertising in New Hampshire - Visit the website for the New Hampshire Judicial Branch to find the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct. Learn more about the rules for communicating information about legal services including the ethics committee comment, the ABA model rule comments.
List of Legal Organizations in New Hampshire - Find a list of legal organizations and bar associations in New Hampshire including the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NHCDLA). the NH Justice Association (NHAJ), and the NH Women Lawyer Association.
This article was last updated on Thursday, December 26, 2019.