Wyoming Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, you must pay attention to the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys at Law, especially as those rules are related to attorney advertising and marketing online. These rules outlines what an attorney is prohibited from doing whilist advertising online. Additional information can be found in the comments to 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. Using search engine key terms, understanding search enginge algorithims, and using appropriate geoterms can help boost your website. 

Resources for Wyoming Attorneys Advertising Online

The Wyoming State Bar - Visit the official website for the Wyoming Bar and find more information about the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. Find more information about the Wyoming Bar rules, possible disciplinary actions, and more. 

Rules of Professional Conduct - Gain access to the Rules of Professional Conduct and learn the regulations for ad submissions, websites, blog posts, and other types of online advertising. 

Wyoming Ethics Help - Visit the official website for the Wyoming Bar and gain access to the ehtics hotline, the Rules for Professional Conduct, how discipline is handled, and the trust account handbook. 

Rules for Ads in Wyoming

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 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.

Disclaimers for Ads

Rule 7.2(g) provides that "[e]xcept as permitted by Rule 7.4, advertisement containing information in addition to that set forth 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."

Addtional Wyoming Bar Rules

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.

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

This article was last updated on October 10, 2018.