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Saturday, 17 August, 2019

THE MARYLAND LAWYERS' RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT INFORMATION ABOUT LEGAL SERVICES 2015

This information is not intended as dispositive nor should it be relied on regarding the Maryland Rules for Lawyer advertising. For more information please contact the Maryland Grievance Commission, Attn: Targeted Mailing.

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  • INFORMATION ABOUT LEGAL SERVICES
  • Rule 7.1. Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services.
  • Rule 7.2. Advertising.
  • Rule 7.3. Direct Contact with Prospective Clients.
  • Rule 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice.
  • Rule 7.5. Firm Names and Letterheads.

Rule 7.1. Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services.

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:

  1. contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading;
  2. 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 Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or
  3. compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.

Rule 7.2. Advertising.

  1. Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3(b), a lawyer may advertise services through public media, such as a telephone directory, legal directory, newspaper or other periodical, outdoor, radio or television advertising, or through communications not involving in person contact.
  2. A copy or recording of an advertisement or such other communication shall be kept for at least three years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used.
  3. A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services, except that a lawyer may
    1. pay the reasonable cost of advertising or written communication permitted by this Rule;
    2. pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit lawyer referral service;
    3. pay for a law practice purchased in accordance with Rule 1.17; and
    4. refer clients to a non-lawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if
      1. the reciprocal agreement is not exclusive, and
      2. the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.
  4. Any communication made pursuant to this Rule shall include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for its content.
  5. An advertisement or communication indicating that no fee will be charged in the absence of a recovery shall also disclose whether the client will be liable for any expenses.

Cross references. -- Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.8(e).

  1. A lawyer, including a participant in an advertising group or lawyer referral service or other program involving communications concerning the lawyer's services, shall be personally responsible for compliance with the provisions of Rules 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 and shall be prepared to substantiate such compliance.

Rule 7.3. Direct Contact with Prospective Clients.

  1. A lawyer shall not by in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a prospective client when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:
    1. is a lawyer; or
    2. has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.
  2. A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client by written, recorded or electronic communication or by in-person, telephone, or real-time electronic contract even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a), if:
    1. the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the physical, emotional or mental state of the prospective client is such that the prospective client could not exercise reasonable judgment in employing a lawyer;
    2. the prospective client has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or
    3. the solicitation involves coercion, duress, or harassment.
  3. Every written, recorded, or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from a prospective client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter shall include the words "Advertising Material" on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication, unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2).
  4. Notwithstanding the prohibitions in paragraph (a), a lawyer may participate with a prepaid or group legal service plan operated by an organization not owned or directed by the lawyer that uses in-person or telephone contact to solicit memberships or subscriptions for the plan from persons who are not known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the plan.

Rule 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice.

  1. A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law, subject to the requirements of Rule 7.1. A lawyer shall not hold himself or herself out publicly as a specialist.
  2. A lawyer admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation "Patent Attorney" or a substantially similar designation.

Rule 7.5. Firm Names and Letterheads.

  1. A lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1. A trade name may be used by a lawyer in private practice if it does not imply a connection with a government agency or with a public or charitable legal services organization and is not otherwise in violation of Rule 7.1.
  2. A law firm with offices in more than one jurisdiction may use the same name in each jurisdiction, but identification of the lawyers in an office of the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the office is located.
  3. The name of a lawyer holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.
  4. Lawyers may state or imply that they practice in a partnership or other organization only when that is the fact.