New Jersey Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
The New Jersey Bar has rules for attorneys marketing online called the Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules set forth by the New Jersey Bar are related to website design and internet marketing and can be found at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5. Additional information can be found in the comments and the Ethics Advisory Opinions interpreting the rules.
The rules in New Jersey track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association. Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's important that you are familiar with the rules outlined in the New Jersey Bar.
Although the rules in the State of New Jersey 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. Having a good understanding of search engine key terms and participating in a lawyer referral service can help you create the Internet prescene you want.
New Jersey Bar Rules Resources
New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct - Read the rules of professional conduct and ethics. The rules related to advertising and internet marketing include Rule 7.1 for Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Service, Rule 7.2 for Advertising, Rule 7.3 for Personal Contact With Prospective Clients, and Rule 7.4 Communication of Fields of Practice and Certification, and Rule 7.5 Firm Names and Letterheads.
New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics - This branch of the Supreme Court of New Jersey supervises and disciplines attorneys in New Jersey on various legal issues. This website provides information on ethics opinions, an ethics help desk and miscellaneous resources on legal ethics in New Jersey.
Supreme Court of New Jersey - This link is to the Supreme Court of New Jersey's website, which provides New Jersey's court rules, the Court's opinion on various legal topics and miscellaneous information about the court. The Supreme Court is located at:
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex
25 Market Street
Trenton, New Jersey
Phone: (609) 292-4837
New Jersey State Bar Association - Visit the New Jersey State Bar Association website to find helpful information and resources concerning what constitutes permissible and impermissible forms of legal advertising and solicitations.
- New Jersey Bar Rules Guidelines
- False and Misleading Language on New Jersey Legal Websites
- Disclaimers on New Jersey Law Firm Websites
- Practice Areas on New Jersey Attorney Websites
New Jersey Bar Rules Guidelines
The New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct govern all attorney and law firm communications and advertising, including websites and other content published on the internet.
According to Rule 7.2, an attorney is permitted to advertise their services through public media, including internet and electronic media.
The New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct also require an attorney to keep a copy of all advertisements and communications for a period of three years after it was used, in addition to when the advertised was used and where it was used.
False and Misleading Language on New Jersey Legal Websites
According to Rule 7.1 of the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is not permitted to make any false or misleading communication about themselves or their services. According to the Rule, a communication can be considered false and misleading if:
- The communication contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law;
- The communication omits a fact that is necessary to make the statement not materially misleading when taken a whole;
- The communication has the potential to give the viewer of the website an unjustified expectation as to the results the lawyer can attain;
- The communication compares the services of the attorney to that of another unless the statement can be factually substantiated, includes the name of the lawyer being compared to, and includes a disclaimer; and
- Discusses legal fees, except in limited circumstances.
The fees an attorney may be able to discuss on their website can include:
- An initial consultation fee;
- Whether the attorney's specific legal services are based on a contingent or fixed fee;
- A range of fees for specific legal fees, if not likely to be misunderstood or deceptive;
- Whether credit arrangements are available;
- Specific hourly rates, if the statement clarifies the total will depend on the number of hours devoted to the matter; and
- A statement of fees the attorney charges for services rendered from qualified legal assistance organizations.
Disclaimers on New Jersey Law Firm Websites
An attorney or law firm that chooses to include information on their website that could be perceived as false or misleading should include a disclaimer or disclosure on the website. The disclaimer should appear in the same manner, with equal prominence, and with the same legibility as the website's other content.
A disclaimer would prevent potential viewers of the website and potential clients from creating an unjustified expectation as the attorney's services and the results they can achieve.
Also, under Rule 7.1, an attorney or law firm that compares their services to that of another must include the following disclaimer on their website, in addition to including the name of the organization being compared and the statement can be factually verified:
"No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey."
Practice Areas on New Jersey Attorney Websites
Under Rule 7.4, an attorney is permitted to state they do or do not practice in certain legal areas on their website, but they may not state they have been recognized or certified as a specialist in any field of law except in limited circumstances.
An attorney may claim they are a specialist, certified or specialized in a particular area of law if:
- They have been admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office;
- They are engaged in admiralty practice; or
- They are certified, and state the certification has been granted by the Supreme Court of New Jersey or an organization approved by the American Bar Association, they state the name of the certifying organization, and the communication is not false or misleading.
Last updated on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.