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New York Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising
New York attorney and law firm websites are generally considered advertisements and communications that are regulated by the bar rules as set forth in the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.
Due to the increasing number of attorneys and law firms using the internet to advertise their practice, compliance with the state bar rules has become more important, as any failure can result in disciplinary actions or sanctions against the lawyer or law firm.
Often, attorneys inadvertently violate the bar rules in their state because their website marketing and design company failed to acknowledge 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 New York and will ensure your website is in compliance with the bar rules in New York. Unfortunately, many times attorneys violate the bar rules without even being aware of the violation because they did not create their website or write the content on their website.
Internet LAVA focuses only on lawyer and law firm internet marketing and provides services to attorneys throughout New York and every jurisdiction in the United States. Internet LAVA understands the importance of creating the most effective website while also maintaining an ethical approach that complies with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. Contact Internet LAVA at 1-800-292-LAVA for more information on how to ensure your marketing strategy is in compliance with the bar rules in New York.
New York Bar Rules Resources
New York State Bar Association - This link is to the New York State Bar Association's (NYSBA) website, which provides information pertaining to the NYSBA and attorneys in New York, including the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, ethics opinions, and miscellaneous information pertaining to the legal practice in New York. The New York State Bar Association is located at:NYSBA
One Elk Street
Albany, New York 12207
Phone: (518) 463-3200
Court of Appeals - State of New York - This link is to the Court of Appeals, which is New York's highest state court. This link provides information to court decisions on various legal matters, rules of law in New York and frequently asked questions regarding the legal practice in New York. The Court of Appeals for the State of New York is located at:New York State Court of Appeals
20 East Street
Albany, New York 12207
Phone: (518) 455-7700
New York Rules of Professional Conduct - This link is to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, which provides the rules that regulate attorney website advertisement and marketing. These Rules supersede the former Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility.
New York Rules of Professional Conduct with Comments - This link is to the Rules of Professional Conduct, with comments, in addition to any amendments made through 2011.
New York State Bar Association's Ethics Opinions - This link is to various opinions on ethical issues in the legal profession in New York, as provided by the BYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics.
Rule 7.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct governs attorney and law firm advertisements, including computer-accessed communications, such as content published on the internet and websites that advertise or market the law firm's or lawyer's services.
In general, Rule 1.0(c) of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct defines computer-accessed communications as any communication made by or on behalf of the lawyer or law firm that is distributed through any of the following computer or electronic mediums:
A New York lawyer or law firm is required to pre-approve any advertisement, including websites, and they must retain a copy of the website for at least one year. A copy of the contents of any website are required to be preserved upon the initial publication of the website, upon any major redesign, or upon a meaningful and extensive change in the content, according to Rule 7.1(k).
Under Rule 7.1(h), at least one attorney or law firm's name, telephone number and location of the principal law office is required on all advertisements, including websites.
Additionally, according to Rule 7.1(f), the home page of the attorney's website that is used to advertise or market the services of the attorney shall be labeled with the phrase, "Attorney Advertising."
If the attorney provides a discussion area on their website, they should be careful to avoid creating an expectation that an attorney-client relationship has been created. It is generally a good idea to state on the website that submitting a case evaluation form does not create an attorney-client relationship.
According to Rule 7.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney's website cannot contain any statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading or that violate any Rule. Statements about the level or quality of services provided should be factually supported by the lawyer or law firm as of the date on which the advertisement is published or disseminated.
Rule 7.4(a) of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct states that an attorney is prevented from using the terms "recognized," "certified" or "specialist," unless the following exists:
The meta-tags or other hidden computer codes on a New York attorney's website must follow the same rules that would apply if the hidden computer codes were displayed to the viewer by looking at the website. According to the comments to Rule 7.1, this means the attorney must not use false or misleading information or any other information that uses the term "specialist."
Many attorneys in New York include testimonials from former clients on their website. However, according to Rule 7.1(e), the testimonial cannot be false or misleading, the information must be able to be factually verifiable, and it must include a disclaimer that says "Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome."
Additionally, if the legal matter is still pending, the client must provide the attorney with informed consent that is given in writing to use the testimonial or endorsement.
Internet LAVA, LLC | New York Bar Rules for Attorney Websites
For more information on how lawyer advertising, marketing and bar rules impact your internet marketing strategy in New York, contact Internet LAVA at 1-800-292-LAVA. Internet LAVA strives to provide clients with practical suggestions that help them come into compliance with the New York bar rules and stay in compliance with each rule for attorney advertising. As the bar rules are changed and interpreted, Internet LAVA strives to keep clients educated about the most recent changes and how it might affect their internet marketing campaign.