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West Virginia Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's critical that you read bar rules related to attorney advertising and internet marketing including:

  • Rule 7.1.  Communications concerning a lawyer’s services.
  • Rule 7.2.  Advertising.
  • Rule 7.3.  Direct contact with prospective clients.
  • Rule 7.4.  Communication of fields of practice.
  • Rule 7.5.  Firm names and letterheads.

Additional information can be found in the comments to each rule and the advisory ethics opinions interpreting the rules. 

Although the rules in West Virginia 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.

As the bar rules in West Virginia for attorney advertising are changed and interpreted, it's imperative that you strive to understand how those changes might impact your website, blog or social media postings.

At Lawyer Legion, we developed this online attorney directory to help the public find a lawyer in the State of West Virginia. This online attorney directory also provides information on legal organizations and lawyer referral services located throughout the state.

Our parent company, Internet Lava, LLC, builds websites and internet marketing strategies for lawyers across the United States. Contact us to find out more about the services we can provide to your law firm.

West Virginia Rules on Fields of Specialization

Under the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.4 on the Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization: 

  • A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law;
  • A lawyer admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation “Patent Attorney” or a substantially similar designation (recognizing the long-established policy of the Patent and Trademark Office for the designation of lawyers practicing before the Office); and
  • A lawyer engaged in Admiralty practice may use the designation “Admiralty,” “Proctor in Admiralty” or a substantially similar designation (recognizing the designation of Admiralty practice has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and federal courts).

West Virginia does not currently recognize specialization in the practice of law. Therefore, a lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law. The comments to the rule provide that a lawyer is permitted to indicate areas of practice in communications about the lawyer’s services.

If a lawyer practices only in certain fields, or will not accept matters except in a specified fields, the lawyer is permitted to so indicate.

Additional Resources for Attorney Advertising in the State of West Virginia

West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys- Read the rules of professional conduct including the Rules on Information About Legal Services 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, Rule 7.4 for Communication of fields of practice and Rule 7.5 or Firm names and letterheads.

West Virginia Rules Governing Lawyers and Judges - Visit the website for the West Virginia Court System and the Supreme Court of Appeals to find links to the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law, the Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Rules of Lawyer Disciplinary Procedure.

This article was last updated on Monday, June 10, 2019.