Advertising Bar Regulations For Nebraska
In law firm internet marketing, it’s important to be mindful of your state’s bar regulations for advertising. In this article we’ll go over some of the high level points to look out for.
The Nebraska rules for Professional Conduct came into effect on September 1, 2005. Rules §§ 3-507.1 to 3-507.5 contain the rules for communicating information about legal services including:
- § 3-507.1. Communications concerning a lawyer’s services;
- § 3-507.2. Advertising;
- § 3-507.3. Direct contact with prospective clients; and
- § 3-507.4. Communication of fields of practice.
General Guidelines: Lawyer Advertising Rules
- 3-507.1: Regulates the truthfulness of an advertising campaign. This rule states that an advertisement is considered misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading. Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this Rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer’s communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is also misleading if “there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation.”
3-507.2. The rules of advertising permit a lawyer to “advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media.” However, any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content, whether or not the lawyer or law firm listed authored the content. A lawyer is also not permitted to “give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services” except that a lawyer “may pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule.”
3-507.3 Lawyers are prohibited from soliciting professional employment from any prospective clients if a significant motive is their own pecuniary gain. Every written, recorded or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from a prospective client shall include the disclaimer “This is an advertisement” on the outside envelope, and the disclaimer should appear in type size at least as large as the print of the address and shall be located in a conspicuous place on the envelope or postcard.
3-507.4 while a lawyer is permitted to communicate that they focus in or prefer to practice in certain areas of law, they are not permitted to state or imply that they are “specialists,” “specialize” in any field of law, unless:
- The 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.
- The lawyer engaged in Admiralty practice may use the designation “Admiralty,” “Proctor in Admiralty” or a substantially similar designation.
- The lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.