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Maryland Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
Attorney and law firm websites in Maryland are typically considered a communication and advertising that is subject to the bar rules in Maryland. These rules are codified in the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct.
Due to the increasing number of attorneys and law firms that use the internet to advertise their services, it has become more important to comply with the state bar rules, as any failure to do so can result in disciplinary actions or sanctions against the lawyer or law firm.
Attorneys often unknowingly violate the bar rules in their state because their website marketing and design company failed to abide by the bar rules when creating the law firm or lawyer's website. Therefore, it is important to hire a website marketing and design company that is knowledgeable with the bar rules in Maryland and will ensure your website is in compliance with the bar rules in Maryland.
Internet LAVA primarily provides lawyer and law firm internet marketing services to attorneys throughout Maryland and every jurisdiction in the United States. Internet LAVA understands the importance of creating the most effective website while also remaining in compliance with the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct. Contact Internet LAVA at 1-800-292-LAVA for more information on how to ensure your marketing strategy complies with the bar rules in Maryland.
Maryland Bar Rules Resources
The Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. - This link is to the Maryland State Bar Association's (MSBA) website, which provides information about the bar association and legal information to attorneys in Maryland, including the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, ethics opinions, and miscellaneous information pertaining to the practice of law in Maryland. The Maryland State Bar Association is located at:MSBA
520 W. Fayette Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: (410) 685-7878
Maryland Court of Appeals -This link is to the Court of Appeals, which is the highest state court in Maryland. This link provides reported and unreported court opinions on numerous legal matters and miscellaneous information regarding the court system in Maryland. The Court of Appeals is located at:Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: (410) 260-1500
Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct -This link is to the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, which provide rules that regulate website advertisement and marketing by attorneys.
Maryland Ethics Opinions -This link is to opinions on attorney ethical situations in Maryland, as provided by the Maryland State Bar Association.
In general, an attorney in Maryland is permitted to advertise their services through the use of public media, including websites.
According to Rule 7.2 of the Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney is required to keep a copy of an advertisement or communication for at least three years after it was last used, along with a record of when and where it was used.
Additionally, Rule 7.2 of the Rules states that any advertisement or communication made by the attorney must contain the name of at least one lawyer who is responsible for the content.
According to Rule 7.1 of the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney's website cannot contain any statements or claims about the attorney or their services that are false or misleading. Statements can be false or misleading if:
Although there is not a bar rule in Maryland that specifically states whether an attorney's website should include a disclaimer, as a general rule, all attorneys should have some type of disclaimer or other qualifying language on their website so as not to create an unjustified expectation to the viewer of the website or any potential clients.
A disclaimer or disclosure that is appropriate should appear in the same manner, with equal prominence and with the same legibility as other content on the website.
Rule 7.2 states that any advertisement that states no fee will be charged, must include whether the client will be responsible for any expenses. To not include this disclaimer could be considered false and misleading.
According to Rule 7.4 of the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney or law firm is permitted to indicate on their website whether they do or do not practice in a particular field of law.
However, an attorney may not state they are a specialist, specializes in or is certified in an area of law, unless they are admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In this instance, they can state they are a "Patent Attorney" or something else that is substantially similar.
Internet LAVA, LLC | Maryland Bar Rules for Attorney Websites
For more information on how lawyer advertising, internet marketing and bar rules can impact your marketing strategy in Maryland, contact Internet LAVA at 1-800-292-LAVA. Internet LAVA makes every effort to ensure client come into compliance with the Maryland bar rules and stay in compliance with each rule for attorney advertising.