7.02 Advertisements

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(a) An advertisement of legal services shall publish the name of a lawyer who is responsible for the content of the advertisement and identify the lawyer’s primary practice location.

(b) A lawyer who advertises may communicate that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law, but shall not include a statement that the lawyer has been certified or designated by an organization as possessing special competence or a statement that the lawyer is a member of an organization the name of which implies that its members possess special competence, except that:

(1) a lawyer who has been awarded a Certificate of Special Competence by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the area so advertised, may state with respect to each such area, “Board Certified, area of specialization -- Texas Board of Legal Specialization”; and

(2) a lawyer who is a member of an organization the name of which implies that its members possess special competence, or who has been certified or designated by an organization as possessing special competence in a field of practice, may include a factually accurate, non-misleading statement of such membership or certification, but only if that organization has been accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a bona fide organization that admits to membership or grants certification only on the basis of published criteria which the Texas Board of Legal Specialization has established as required for such certification.

(c) If an advertisement by a lawyer discloses a willingness to render services on a contingent fee basis, the advertisement must state whether the client will be obligated to pay for other expenses, such as the costs of litigation

(d) A lawyer who advertises a specific fee or range of fees for an identified service shall conform to the advertised fee or range of fees for the period during which the advertisement is reasonably expected to be in circulation or otherwise expected to be effective in attracting clients, unless the advertisement specifies a shorter period. However, a lawyer is not bound to conform to the advertised fee or range of fees for a period of more than one year after the date of publication, unless the lawyer has expressly promised to do so.

Comment:

1. These Rules permit the dissemination of information that is not false or misleading about a lawyer’s or law firm’s name, address, e-mail address, website, and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer’s fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; a lawyer’s foreign language abilities; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other similar information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.

Communications about Fields of Practice

2. Lawyers often benefit from associating with other lawyers for the development of practice areas. Thus, practitioners have established associations, organizations, institutes, councils, and practice groups to promote, discuss, and develop areas of the law, and to advance continuing education and skills development. While such activities are generally encouraged, participating lawyers must refrain from creating or using designations, titles, or certifications which are false or misleading. A lawyer shall not advertise that the lawyer is a member of an organization whose name implies that members possess special competence, unless the organization meets the standards of Rule 7.02(b). Merely stating a designated class of membership, such as Associate, Master, Barrister, Diplomate, or Advocate, does not, in itself, imply special competence violative of these Rules.

3. Paragraph (b) of this Rule permits a lawyer to communicate that the lawyer practices, focuses, or concentrates in particular areas of law. Such communications are subject to the “false and misleading” standard applied by Rule 7.01 to communications concerning a lawyer’s services and must be objectively based on the lawyer’s experience, specialized training, or education in the area of practice.

4. The Patent and Trademark Office has a long-established policy of designating lawyers practicing before the Office. The designation of Admiralty practice also has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and the federal courts. A lawyer’s communications about these practice areas are not prohibited by this Rule.

Certified Specialist

Misc. Docket No. 21-9061 Page 245. This Rule permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in a field of law if such certification is granted by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization or by an organization that applies standards of experience, knowledge and proficiency to ensure that a lawyer’s recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable, if the organization is accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To ensure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization must be included in any communication regarding the certification.

 

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