Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, read the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys at Law, especially as those rules relate to attorney advertising and online marketing.
Find additional information in the comments for each rule and the advisory ethics opinions interpreting the rules.
Although the rules in Wyoming 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.
In Wyoming, the bar rules for attorney advertising can be found in the Wyoming Rules for Professional Conduct in the section about "INFORMATION ABOUT LEGAL SERVICES."
Those bar rules for attorney ads in Wyoming include:
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Ads should contain the attorney or law firm's office address. See Rule 7.2(e).
When it comes to designing the attorney's website, the address of the website should appear on each interior page of the website in the footer.
The rules should not make any claim that the attorney is an expert or specialist or board-certified except as permitted by Rule 7.4.
Unless the attorney has earned specialty certification and complied with the other requirements of Rule 7.4, the attorney should simply avoid the use of the words "expert" or "specialist" or similar phrases on the website or in advertisements.
Rule 7.2(g) provides that "[e]xcept as permitted by Rule 7.4, advertisement containing information in addition to that outlined in Rule 7.2(c) shall contain the following disclaimer:
The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.
The disclaimer must appear within the advertisement itself, or in the instance of a telephone or other directory, upon the same or the facing page as the advertisement appears.
The disclaimer shall be in a type size at least as large as the smallest type size appearing in the advertisement.
Wyoming Rules of Prof. Conduct, Rule 7.1 concerning communications about a lawyer's services became effective on July 1, 2006, and provides:
A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it:
(a) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement, considered as a whole, not materially misleading;
(b) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
(c) compares the lawyer's services with other specific lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated; or
(d) contains a dramatization prohibited by Rule 7.2(h), a testimonial or endorsement.
 This Rule governs all communications about a lawyer's services, including advertising permitted by Rule 7.2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services, statements about them must be truthful.
 Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this Rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer's communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer's services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation.
 An advertisement that truthfully reports a lawyer's achievements on behalf of clients or former clients may be misleading if presented so as to lead a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case. Similarly, an unsubstantiated comparison of the lawyer's services or fees with the services or fees of other lawyers may be misleading if presented with such specificity as would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the comparison can be substantiated. The inclusion of an appropriate disclaimer or qualifying language may preclude a finding that a statement is likely to create unjustified expectations or otherwise mislead a prospective client.
 See also, Rule 8.4(e) for the prohibition against stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
Ethically Speaking Index of Wyoming's Rules of Professional Conduct - Visit the website of the Wyoming State Bar to find the “Ethically Speaking Index” created by Professor John Burman’s Ethically Speaking column in the Wyoming Lawyer. The index fully searchable includes the title of the article, the rule, and the Wyoming Lawyer Issue discussing the rule. Subjects include client confidentiality, candor to the tribunal, work product doctrine, conflicts of interest, advertising / solicitation, and fees.
Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys - Visit the website of the Wyoming Judicial Branch to find Wyoming’s Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys at Law. You can download the amendments to each rule listed by date signed and the effective date of the amendment. For example, on the website, you can download an order amending the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys signed on 6/25/19 and became effective on 9/1/19. Find information on regulations for ad submissions, websites, blog posts, and other types of online advertising.
Wyoming’s Ethics Help Blog Category - Visit the official website for the Wyoming Bar and gain access to the ethics hotline, the Rules for Professional Conduct, how discipline is handled, and the trust account handbook. Find recent and archived “ethics help” blog posts going back to 2015.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 15, 2019.