CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
| JULY 3, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. announced today the Court’s adoption of comprehensive amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct pertaining to lawyer advertising. The Rules of Professional Conduct set forth the standards of ethical conduct required of lawyers.
The new rules are the result of a lengthy study conducted by the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA), and recommendations to the Court for rule changes that were suggested by the LSBA House of Delegates. The advertising rules were also studied by a Court Committee that was chaired by Justice Catherine D. Kimball. The Court Committee’s work was precipitated by a 2006 Senate Concurrent Resolution in which the Court was asked to establish a committee to study attorney advertising. The Court’s decision balances the right of lawyers to truthfully advertise legal services with the need to improve the existing rules in order to protect the public from unethical forms of lawyer advertising.
Among the significant changes to the rules are the following:
• The addition of a rule addressing advertisements in the electronic media, including television and radio;
• The addition of a rule addressing computer-accessed communications, including e-mails;
• Amendments to the present rules concerning the type and content of advertising or written communications that are violative of the rules. For example, a lawyer advertising communication would violate the new rules if it “promises results;”
• The addition of a new rule which, while not prohibiting lawyers from running their advertisements, will require lawyers to file copies of their advertisements with a committee of the Bar Association either prior to or concurrently with the first dissemination of the advertisement. The committee will review and evaluate the advertisements for compliance with the advertising rules. Lawyers whose advertisements are found by the committee not to be in compliance with the rules will be informed that dissemination or continued dissemination may result in professional discipline;
• Rule changes clarifying the circumstances in which lawyers may communicate that they are “certified” or an “expert” in a particular field of law; and
• The addition of a rule that will exempt certain advertisements of a more limited nature from the aforementioned review and evaluation process.
The amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct become effective on December 1, 2008, in order to provide lawyers with sufficient time to evaluate the rule changes and review their advertising practices.
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