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State Advertising Restrictions

Each state has its own set of unique rules addressing attorneys' ability to advertise and the information that must accompany their advertisements. When viewing a listing from the directory, consider the rules to which lawyers and law firms must adhere. You can find links to the rules per state below.

Attorney Advertising Disclaimers by State

All states have a rule that forbids lawyers from making false or misleading communications about their services. Most states also have specific rules of professional conduct related to how attorneys can advertise and what disclaimers they must have on their advertisements:

Most states require that any law firm or attorney advertisement include the name of at least one lawyer, and Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming require an office address.

Specific Disclaimers Required by Some States

Certain states require additional disclaimers when attorneys:

Certification and Specialization Disclaimers/Disclosures

The following states* require advertising disclaimers or disclosures when attorneys indicate practice limitations, areas of concentration, areas of specialization, and/or certifications:

  • Arkansas - Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d)
  • California - California Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4 (2018)
  • Colorado - Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) and (e) (2008)
  • Connecticut - Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(d) (2020); see also Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4A (2020)
  • Delaware - Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2008)
  • Florida - Florida State Bar Rules 4-7-14 (2019)
  • Hawaii - Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2014)
  • Idaho - Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4 (2004)
  • Illinois - Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(c) (2010)
  • Indiana - Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2011)
  • Iowa - Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct 32:7.4(a) and (d) (2013)
  • Kansas - Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2007)
  • Kentucky - Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct 3.130(7.40) (2016)
  • Louisiana - Louisiana State Bar Association Plan of Legal Specialization, Sec. 6 (2015)
  • Maine - Maine Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2009)
  • Massachusetts - Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4 (2015)
  • Minnesota - Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2005)
  • Mississippi - Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct 7.6 (1999)
  • Missouri - Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct 4-7.4 (2007)
  • Montana - Montana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(c) (2020)
  • Nebraska - Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct 3-507.4 (2008)
  • Nevada - Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2007)
  • New Jersey - New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2004)
  • New Mexico - New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct 16-704(D) (2018)
  • New York - New York Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4 (c)
  • North Carolina - North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(b) (2003)
  • North Dakota - North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(c) (2006)
  • Ohio - Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(e) (2009)
  • Oklahoma - Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(b)(4) (2019)
  • Rhode Island - Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(f) (2019)
  • South Carolina - South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(a) (2015)
  • Tennessee - Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2015)
  • Texas - Texas Rules of Professional Conduct 7.04(b)(2) (2005)
  • Utah - Utah Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(2005)
  • Vermont - Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2009)
  • Washington - Washington Rules of Professional Conduct 7.4(d) (2006)
  • Wisconsin - Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct SCR 20:7.4(d) (2007)
  • Wyoming - Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(c) (2019)

Most states listed above will only allow a lawyer to declare themselves a specialist if they have been certified as a specialist by a specific organization (such as the American Bar Association or state Supreme Court) and they clearly identify the certifying organization. Some states (Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington) require a specific disclaimer to follow the reference to certification.

Contingency Fee Arrangement Disclaimers/Disclosures

These states* require advertising disclaimers or disclosures when attorneys discuss contingency fee arrangements:

  • Arizona: Must list expenses and whether the percentage fee will be computed before expenses are deducted from the recovery. (Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(d)(1) (2014))
  • California: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses. (California Business and Professions Code Section 6157.2(d) (2019))
  • Colorado: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses unless only stating that contingency-fee arrangements are available. (Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 7.1(d) (2016))
  • Connecticut: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses using the same print size and type as the contingency fee language. (Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(f) (2020))
  • Florida: Must disclose all fees and expenses for which the client could be liable. (Florida State Bar Rule 4-7.14 (2019))
  • Georgia: Requires a specific disclaimer. (Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(a)(5-6))
  • Louisiana: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses. (Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(c)(6) (2016))
  • Maryland: Must disclose client responsibility for any expenses. (Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e) (2016))
  • Missouri: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses. (Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct 4-7.1 (k) (2010))
  • Montana: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses. (Montana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2 (2020))
  • Nevada: Must disclose client responsibility for any opposing parties' fees and costs. (Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2 (b)(4) (2018))
  • New Jersey: Only specific legal fee disclosures allowed. (New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(a)(4) (2009))
  • New York: Cannot imply that ability to advance costs is unique. (New York Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1, New York Judiciary Law 488(3) (2006))
  • Pennsylvania: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses.(Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(h) (2013))
  • Rhode Island: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses.(Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(e) (2019))
  • South Carolina: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses and whether the fee will be computed before or after deducting the expenses. (South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(f) (2016))
  • South Dakota: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses and whether the fee will be computed before or after deducting the costs. (South Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(g)(1)(iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) (2018))
  • Texas: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses and whether the fee will be computed before or after deducting the expenses. (Texas Rules of Professional Conduct 7.04(h) (2005))
  • Utah: Must disclose client responsibility for any costs or expenses. (Utah Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(d) and (e) (2015))

Client Testimonials, Comparisons Between the Services of Attorneys, Endorsements, and Spokespeople

Many states require advertising disclaimers or disclosures when attorneys use client testimonials or compare their services to others. Certain states also require paid testimonials, endorsements, and spokespersons to be clearly called out. This list is current as of September 2020*:

  • Florida: Must include disclaimer that prospective client may not obtain the same or similar results. (Florida State Bar Rule 4-7-13 (2018))
  • Georgia: Must include prominent disclosures of any non-attorney spokespersons and portrayals. (Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(c)(3) (2014))
  • Louisiana: Television and radio advertisements by non-lawyer spokespersons must include a spoken and written disclosure identifying them as spokespersons and disclosing any payment. (Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.5(b)(2)(C))
  • Missouri: Must conspicuously identify any payment for testimonials or endorsements. (Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct 4-7.1 (2010))
  • Montana: Must conspicuously identify any payment for testimonials or endorsements. (Montana Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1 (2020))
  • New Jersey: May not compare services with another lawyer's services unless the name of the comparing organization is stated, the comparison can be substantiated, and the communication includes a specific disclaimer. (New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(a)(3) (2009))
  • New York: Must disclose any payment for endorsements or testimonials. All statements of comparison, testimonials, and endorsements must be able to be factually supported, and include the disclaimer "prior results do not guarantee a specific outcome." (New York Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(d) and (e))
  • North Dakota: Any comparisons with other lawyers' services must include the name of the comparing organization and the basis for which the comparison can be substantiated. (North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(d) (2010))
  • Pennsylvania: Any paid endorsements must disclose the endorser is paid. (Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(e) (2013))
  • Rhode Island: Must clearly identify all testimonials and endorsements, including any payment made. If testimonial or endorsement is made by a non-client, must identify that fact. (Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(b) (2019))
  • South Carolina: Must clearly identify all testimonials and endorsements, including any payment made. If testimonial or endorsement is by a non-client, must identify that fact. Must clearly and conspicuously state that the result for one client does not necessarily indicate similar results for other clients. (South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(b) (2016))
  • South Dakota: Lawyer must be able to factually substantiate any claims made in a testimonial or endorsement, must disclose any payments made, and must include disclaimer that the testimonial/endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction on other legal matters. If testimonial or disclaimer is by a non-client, must identify that fact. (South Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1(c)(12), (13) and (14) (2004))
  • Wisconsin: Must identify any payment made for testimonials or endorsements. If testimonial/endorsement is by a non-client, must identify that fact. (Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct SCR 20:7.1(a) and (d) (2017))

Practice Area-Specific Disclaimers

In the following practice areas, state, federal or administrative law may require advertising disclaimers when attorneys advertise that practice area: bankruptcy (all states), and immigration law (California).

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy lawyers and law firms are considered debt relief agencies under federal law and must clearly and conspicuously include this statement (or a statement substantially to it):

"We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code."

11 U.S.C.A. section 528(a)(3) and (a)(4) (2005) — See also Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., et al. v. United States, 559 U.S. 229 (2010).

Immigration Law (in California)

California has this disclaimer for attorneys practicing in immigration law:

(a) All advertisements published, distributed, or broadcasted by or on behalf of a licensee seeking professional employment for the licensee in providing services relating to immigration or naturalization shall include a statement that he or she is an active licensee of the State Bar, licensed to practice law in this state. If the advertisement seeks employment for a law firm or law corporation employing more than one attorney, the advertisement shall include a statement that all the services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by the firm or corporation shall be provided by an active licensee of the State Bar or by a person under the supervision of an active licensee of the State Bar. This subdivision shall not apply to classified or “yellow pages" listings in a telephone or business directory of three lines or less that state only the name, address, and telephone number of the listed entity.

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code section 6157.5(a) (2019)

Other Required Disclaimers

In addition, disclaimers may be required in a variety of other situations, such as when a firm:

  • makes misleading statements
  • implies that past successes indicate the likelihood of future success
  • uses a trade name, particularly a potentially misleading one
  • uses examples of results or verdicts in advertising
  • includes an endorsement, particularly a paid endorsement
  • includes a testimonial
  • compares the firm's services or fees with others
  • advertises fixed fees
  • advertises purely for the purpose of referring business out
  • uses actors or models
  • uses dramatizations
  • advertises a satellite or part-time office
  • advertises in a foreign language
  • carries less than a certain level of liability insurance
  • solicits professional employment from anyone known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter

*This list is updated as of September 2020. Attorney advertising rules change frequently. You should consult your state's code or rules of professional responsibility before placing advertisements.

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