CLE: 2010: How Advertising Rules Intersect with Social Networking Sites

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Title

CLE: 2010: How Advertising Rules Intersect with Social Networking Sites

Creator

Gene Majors, James Ehler

Publisher

St. Mary's University School of Law San Antonio Texas Alumni Homecoming, St. Mary's University School of Law Alumni Homecoming

Date

2010-03-12

Relation

St. Mary's University School of Law Alumni Homecoming

Format

RFC3778

Language

English, en-US

Type

Text

Identifier

STMU_HomecomingCLE2010MajorsEhler

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Text

How Advertising Rules Intersect with Social Networking Sites

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Gene Majors, Advertising Review Director, State Bar of Texas
James Ehler, San Antonio Regional Counsel, State Bar of Texas

3/3/2010

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2~

The Advertising Rules and Social Media
Advertising Rules

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• Protect the public from false, misleading and deceptive communications
• Advertising Rules specify conduct for attorneys who promote their services to the
public
• Part VII of the TDRPC (7.01- 7.07)
• Violations subject lawyers to the grievance process

3~

Advertising Review Committee (ARC)
• Monthly meeting to review submissions


• Interpretive Comments are drafted by the Committee


• Committee is comprised of 12 Members
• Committee members appointed by the SBOT President
3 Public Members

• 9 Attorneys


4

[g) How to File an Advertisement
• ARC has specific time frames to review submissions
• 25 days for pre-approval
• 40 days for filings (concurrent review)
• Fee is $75.000
• Application is online www.texasbar.com/adreview



s [QJ Online Resources




6~
7

[Q]

Helpful online resources for filing requirements :
• "Submission Directions" link
• "Completing the Application Form" link
• "Frequently Asked Questions" link
• Interpretive Comments
• Part VII of the TDRPC
All are located at www.texasbar.com/adreview


Rule 7.01 Firm Names and Letterhead
• Prohibits the use of trade names
• Examples of violations
• "Texas Legal Center"
• "The Employment Law Clinic"
• Prohibits lawyers from holding themselves out to be partners, shareholders or
associates unless they can provide substantiation.
• Descriptive uri's are OK if rule compliant.

1

3/3/2010

a[Q

Rule 7.02 Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services
• All attorney communications are covered under R. 7.02
• Prohibits false, misleading, or deceptive statements.
• Examples:
• Material misrepresentations or omissions
• Guaranteeing results or creating unjustified expectations

9~

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Rule 7.02 Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services - continued
• Unsubstantiated comparison of services
• Stating or implying ability to improperly influence court, judge or official
• Advertising as a specialist, unless approved under Rule 7.04

10 ~

Rule 7.02 - Revisions - 2005
• Rule covers lawyers who sponsor a communication by another lawyer
• No actors or models to portray clients

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(g Rule 7.02: 2005 Revisions Constrain References to Past Successes or Results
• No reference to past successes or results unless:





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Lawyer was lead counsel or primarily responsible for the verdict or settlement
Amount involved was actually received by the client. (Net to client dollar amount)
Case and damage information is provided
Attorney's fees and litigation expenses are disclosed if the verdict amount or gross
settlement amount is referenced

!Q] Rule 7.04 Advertisements

in the Public Media

• Public media ads are materials that are made available to the general public including:
• Billboards
• Print ads in magazines, newspapers
• Yellow pages
• Television and radio ads, including " infomercials" and paid-for call-in shows
• Websites
13 ~

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Rule 7.04 Advertisements in the Public Media
• What is not considered a Public Media Advertisement:
• Legal newspapers
• Legal directories
• Letters or materials mailed to other lawyers
• Information sent because of a request
• Information sent to clients, past clients.

14 ~ Rule 7.04 Advertisements in the Public Media- continued
• Must designate the geographical location of principal office
• Cannot use an actor to portray a lawyer
• Be cautious with the use of "clip art" on websites
• Cannot use an actor as a spokesperson where implication is that person is a client or

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3/3/2010

lawyer of the advertising firm


1s ~

Rule 7.04 - Revisions - 200S
• Drops the Board Certification disclaimer of "Not Board Certified by the Texas Board of
Legal Specialization"
• If not Board Certified by TBLS, must stay away from language that ·alludes to a
specialization

16 ~

• Permitted statements: "limits practice to," "focus on," "emphasis on"

Rule 7.04 - Revisions - 200S
• Any required disclaimer or disclosure must be in the same manner and equal
prominence as to the communication
(No more really small print)

17 ~

Rule 7 .OS Prohibited Written, Electronic or Digital Solicitations - General
• Cannot involve coercion, duress, fraud, overreaching, intimidation, or harassment.
• Must comply with 7.02 (can't be false, misleading or deceptive), and parts of 7.04.
• Must state how the lawyer obtained the information that prompted the
communication.
• (Where did the attorney get the person's name)

1s

[Q] Rule 7 .OS Prohibited Written,

Electronic or Digital Solicitations - Written

Solicitations
• Cannot reveal on the envelope the nature of the legal problem or matter.
• Must be marked ADVERTISEMENT on the front page separate and apart from text,
and on the envelope (front) in a conspicuous manner.





19~ Social Media Websites Are Mainstream
WHO'S VISmNG SOCIAL NETWORKS
• Median Ages for Social Media
• Facebook: 33 years old
• Twitter: 31 years old
• MySpace: 26 years old
• Unkedin: 39 years old
• Data from 2009 The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project
2 1 ~ SOCIAL MEDIA - Benefits
• Extend Rrm Brand & Market Reach
• Share Expertise & News
• Increase Firm Visibility & Traffic
• Inform Clients About Upcoming Seminars & Events
• Create Goodwill by Pointing to Helpful Resources
• Explain Laws Relevant to Practice

20 (Q]

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3/3/2010

22 ~


Advertising Rules and Social Media
• The Rules were revised to include all forms of communication.
• Applies to audio, audio-visual, digital, electronic, infomercials and recorded
telephone messages, not just written materials


23 ~


Advertising Rules and Social Media
• All attorney communications ·are covered under R. 7.02
• Cannot be false, misleading or deceptive


• Landing/Home pages are considered advertisements if information goes beyond what
is exempt under R. 7.07(f)
24

[Q]



Rule 7.07 (e) Advertisements in the Public Media - Exempted Information
• Tombstone Information
• Business card information
• the particular areas of law in which the lawyer or firm practices or concentrates or
to which it limits its practice



2s~ Rule 7.07 (e) Advertisements in the Public Media- Exempted Information
• the date of admission of the lawyer or lawyers to the State Bar of Texas, to
particular federal courts, and to the bars of other jurisdictions


• technical and professional licenses granted by this state and other recognized
licensing authorities


• foreign language ability
26 ~

Rule 7.07 (e) Advertisements in the Public Media - Exempted Information
• identification of prepaid or group legal service plans in which the lawyer participates


• the acceptance or non-acceptance of credit cards


• any fee for initial consultation and fee schedule
21 ~


Rule 7.07 (e) Advertisements in the Public Media - Exempted Information
• that the lawyer or firm is a sponsor of a charitable, civic, or community program or
event, or is a sponsor of a public service announcement


• All this information can be included on ANY advertisement without filing it with Ad
Review .



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28~ DO YOU BLOG???
• Slogging grew 68% in 2008
• 346 million people worldwide read blogs
• 77% of active web users read blogs
• 184 million people say they've started a blog.

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3/3/2010

29 ~

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Rule 7.04 Advertisements in the Public Media
• Blogs are not considered a Public Media Advertisement if:
• Educational or editorial in nature
• Commenting on a specific area of law, or development in an area of law.
• Main goal of blogs is to have someone read how wonderful you are/gain credibility
on a subject area



30 [g

Internet Strategy -What To Do
• Use Social Media effectively

31 ~


Social Media Etiquette





Don't Over post
Don't Over Professionalize
The More Positive People Think of You, the More Likely They'll want to Do Business
Be Careful who you add as your friend


32

1.
Social Media Etiquette

Q





Know What You Want to be KNOWN For
Fame is Fleeting ....but the Internet Lives Forever
Online Reputation Management- This is real and it is important

6.
6.
33 ~

Twitter

1 Facebook Etiquette

:1: • Advertising on TWffiER does not enjoy high tolerance among users... good way to

become unfollowed
!2i • Advertising on Facebook is more akin to a website.
34 ~

Rule 7.04 Advertisements in the Public Media
• Public media ads are materials that are made available to the general public including :
• Landing Pages that can accessed by the public and videos separate from your
website:
•Websites
• Face book
• Linked-in
•Twitter
•You Tube

35 ~

Social Media, Blogs and The Rules
• All attorney communications are covered under R. 7.02
• Landing/Home pages are considered advertisements if information goes beyond what
is exempt under R. 7.07(f)
• Commenting on a specific area of law, or development in an area of law is fine,
provided the communication does not violate the rules.

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3/3/2010

36 ~

Rule 7.07 Filing Requirements - continued
• Committee can request substantiation of any claim made in advertisement.
• Penalty for not filing an advertisement is a non-filer fee of $300.
• Failure to file is a violation of disciplinary rules.

37 ~

Advertising Review Committee
• Download the Application for Submission, Part VII of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct and Interpretive Comments by the Advertising Review
Committee:
www .texasbar.com/adreview
• To contact the Advertising Review Committee:
Gene Major
Director, Advertising Review
800-566-4616
Gmajor@texasbar.com

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Gene Majors, James Ehler, “CLE: 2010: How Advertising Rules Intersect with Social Networking Sites,” St. Mary's Law Digital Repository, accessed October 21, 2017, http://lawspace.stmarytx.edu/item/STMU_HomecomingCLE2010MajorsEhler.

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