Tweaks to the ABA’s Model Rules governing attorney advertising seek to strike a “good balance” of competing views, Barbara Gillers, chair of The ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, said in an online forum Mar. 28.
The proposed changes attempt to modernize and simplify the rules to reflect changes in technology and real-world practices. The committee also seeks to alleviate the burden on regulators, while protecting the public and increasing access to justice.
Next the committee’s proposal will be submitted as a report and resolution to the ABA House of Delegates, and then will be presented to the House of Delegates at the ABA’s annual meeting in August.
Tarbert said the prohibition on paying for recommendations is an example of a provision that some groups, including lawyer matching service Avvo, thought should be omitted altogether.
In addition, the committee found no evidence that labeling direct mail as “advertising material” helps protect consumers, especially given all the unsolicited mail people get, so that requirement was removed.
The committee solicited and received comments about its working drafts. Some of the most debated issues included, as reflected in the committee’s powerpoint:
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