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September 30, 2016

VSB Seeking Comments on Proposed Amendments to Lawyer Advertising Rules

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking comments from its membership on proposed amendments to Rules 7.1 - 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern lawyer advertising.

The proposed changes come from a study by a committee of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) that determined that current rules do not account for the rise of Internet marketing and advertising.  Additionally, the study found that although current rules generate a predominance of technical complaints by competing attorneys, they may not be necessary to protect the public. Lastly, a number of case decisions in the last ten years have struck down rules governing lawyer advertising and raised First Amendment as well as antitrust concerns when rules are carried out by lawyers who also have a competitive market interest.

The Committee decided based on all factors that the best option is to streamline lawyer advertising rules and to focus on those that prevent false and misleading speech.

The full report on proposed amendments as well as the current rule may be accessed here.

You are invited to comment on the topic by November 4, 2016 by e-mailing Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, at publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Sep 30, 2016

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