Proposed changes to lawyer advertising rules released

Updated proposed changes to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct regarding information about legal services have been posted on the website of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

The proposal would amend ABA Model Rules 7.1: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services, 7.2: Advertising, 7.3: Solicitation of Clients, 7.4: Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization, and 7.5: Firm Names and Letterheads, and would add a new provision to Model Rule 1.0:Terminology.  The key changes focus on model rule provisions related to false and misleading “communications” and solicitations by lawyers.

The Standing Committee, which has shepherded the process of review of these model rules, will sponsor a public forum to hear comments on its working draft of proposed changes during the upcoming ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The forum will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre, in Rooms 119 and 120. Written comments may also be submitted by March 1 to

The process of review was initiated by The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) when it released reports in 2015 and 2016 urging changes to the Model Rules. The ethics committee’s working draft follows an open forum on the APRL reports sponsored by the ethics committee at the 2017 ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami.

Similar to other model rules, those focused on advertising and communication are meant as guidelines for state ethics bodies to adopt.