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Colorado Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
At Internet LAVA, we pay attention to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. The rules related to website design and internet marketing can be found at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5. In many respects, the rules 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, call us to discuss your goals.
If you want to understand the applicable bar rules for attorney advertising then it is important to read each rule in its entirety. Additional information can be found in the comments and the Ethics Advisory Opinions interpreting the rules.
Although the rules in the State of Colorado 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.
At Internet LAVA, we strive to provide our clients with practical suggestions to help the attorney stay in compliance. It is important to understand not only the rules enacted for the Colorado Bar, but also the trends that are emerging in other jurisdictions. Although we cannot provide legal advice to our clients, we can help the attorneys spot issues that might go unnoticed by other marketing companies.
As the bar rules in Colorado for attorney advertising are changed and interpreted, we strive to understand how those changes might impact an attorney's website, blog or social media postings. Call us today for a free evaluation.
Colorado Bar Rules Resources
Colorado Bar Association Website- Visit the Colorado Bar Association's website for the lastest news on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, comments on the rules, and ethics opinions interpreting the rules. The Colorado Bar Association is located at:
Colorado Bar Association
Colorado Supreme Court - Find information on commonly referenced attorney ethics rules in Colorado, as provided by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. The Colorado Supreme Court is located at:
Colorado Supreme Court
Ethics Opinions by the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee - Find the Formal Ethics Opinions as provided by the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee. The opinions provide ethics advice to attorneys in Colorado concerning topics of general interest.
Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct - Read the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct to understand the rules regulating advertisements and other online communications.
The Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct govern all advertising and marketing efforts by an attorney or law firm, including website or online marketing and advertising. These ethics rules state the general requirements all lawyers and law firms must follow when advertising, soliciting or marketing online.
In general, at least one lawyer's name must be included on the advertisement stating they are responsible for the content. This does not mean they must write the content, but they will be held responsible if the conduct does not comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Additionally, Rule 7.2 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct states the attorney's website must disclose the office address where the law firm or lawyer is located.
The Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 7.1 prohibits attorneys and law firms in Colorado from using false or misleading communications about the attorney's services. Specifically, a lawyer cannot make a false or misleading communication about their legal services or about the lawyer.
The Rules of Professional Conduct state a communication may be false or misleading if:
The comments to Rule 7.1 state that certain statements about the attorney's skills or abilities could be misleading if they cannot be factually substantiated. Additionally, the number of years of experience a law firm has can be potentially misleading, if the number combines the years of experience of all members of the law firm and does not differentiate in the years of experience each lawyer has.
The comments to Rule 7.1 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct state an attorney is not permitted to make misleading statements about the attorney's fees. The Colorado Bar Associations' comments state that the following words are likely to be misleading if they cannot be factually substantiated:
The Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct also discuss statements about past case results in the comments sections of communications concerning a lawyer's services. According to the comments, the results a lawyer has obtained in the past can be misleading, unless they are factually substantiated. Case results often imply to prospective clients the lawyer will be able to achieve the same result in the future.
Often, the past case results page on criminal defense attorney websites and personal injury websites is the first place prospective clients will look after finding the website. Potential clients are interested in finding verifiable facts concerning the types of cases that the attorney has taken in the past and the results they have obtained in those cases.
Therefore, disclaimers about past case results are essential. The disclaimer should state the results do not in any way imply the same results will be able to be obtained in the future. The disclaimer should also provide that there is no guarantee the results will be the same for any specific type of case or client.
Under Rule 7.4 the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney or law firm is not permitted to claim or imply they are certified as a specialist or specializes in any particular practice area on their website, unless:
Further, if an attorney claims they are certified in an area of law on their website, they must include the following disclosure on their site:
Rule 7.4 does not to prohibit an attorney or law firm in Colorado from indicating whether they do or do not practice in certain areas of law. The prohibition is generally limited to using the term "specalize" or "specialist" or "certified specialist" or "board certified."
Internet LAVA, LLC | Colorado Bar Rules for Attorney Websites
For more information on how Colorado's ethics and professionalism rules can impact your website or blog, contact Internet LAVA at 1-800-292-LAVA. Internet LAVA's focus on marketing for attorneys gives us an unique perspective. Call us to discuss your goals for growing your practice.
Article updated on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.