The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics has proposed changes that will impact how lawyers advertise and solicit business in the state.  The amendments are to Rules 7.1 to 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which regulate lawyer advertising and solicitation.

The changes are designed to make these rules more general when they are applied by eliminating specific examples of lawyer advertising from the body of the rule.  Requirements and examples of application from the Committee’s opinions on lawyer advertising will be placed in the comments.

Some of the proposed changes include taking the terms, “fraudulent” and “deceptive” out of Rule 7.1, because if an attorney’s advertisement was “fraudulent” and “deceptive” it would be “false” or “misleading.”  Rule 7.2 may be changed by removing the requirement of a disclaimer for specific or cumulative case results and Rule 7.3 may be broadened to include the prohibition against in-person solicitation for all types of matters, not just wrongful death and personal injury.

Although the amendment to Rule 7.4 is still being considered by the Ethics Committee, a proposed change has been made for Rule 7.5, which includes adding a new comment to clarify that attorneys should practice using the official name under which they are licensed or seek an appropriate and legal change of name from the Supreme Court of Virginia.

To learn more about the proposed amendments, visit the Virginia State Bar’s site at:

The Virginia State Bar is requesting comments from the public by April 14, 2010.  I would also like to know your thoughts on these amendments, since I have been receiving calls and emails from Virginia members who want to know how these changes will affect what we teach at Great Legal Marketing.
Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.
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