Vermont Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's important to pay attention to the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct related to internet marketing. The first step to understanding the applicable bar rules for attorney advertising requires reading each rule in its entirety. Additional information can be found in the comments to each rule and the advisory ethics opinions interpreting the rules.

Although the rules in the State of Vermont 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. Using blogs, social media, lawyer referral services, and search engine terms can help you create a strong Internet presence.

Resources for Vermont Bar Rules

Advisory Ethics Opinions in Vermont - Visit the website for the Vermont Bar Association to search advisory ethics opinions on advertising issues from 2010 to present.

Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys in Vermont - Read the rules of professional conduct related to advertising and information regarding legal services. Under title 7, those rules including Rule 7.1 for communications concerning a lawyer's services, Rule 7.2 for advertising, Rule 7.3 for direct contact with prospective clients, and Rule 7.4 for communication of fields of practice.

Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct for Advertising

Vermont has largely adopted the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules). The rules have been amended several times over the years.

Vermont's general rule on attorney advertising, Rule 7.2, permits lawyers to advertise their services through such public media as television, newspapers, telephone directories, and radio. Those ads are subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3.

  • Rule 7.1 prohibits false or misleading statements about the services of the law firm or the lawyer.
  • Rule 7.3 regulates solicitation and direct client contact.
  • Rule 7.4 regulates communications concerning a lawyer's area of practice. Under the rule, an attorney is permitted to communicate the fact that he or she "does or does not practice in particular fields of law." Under Rule 7.4(c), however, a lawyer may not "state or imply that the lawyer has been recognized or certified as a specialist in a particular field of law."
  • An exception applies to certain limited circumstances for patent lawyers and admiralty lawyers.

Another exception exists for lawyers that have been certified as a specialist by a "named organization." If the attorney has been certified as a specialist, the advertisement must contain a disclaimer stating that there is no procedure in Vermont for approving certifying organizations. The disclaimer is not required if the organization has been accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers as specialists in a particular field of law." See Rule 7.4(c).

Last updated on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.