Texas lawyers may be able to vote on the long-anticipated rules for legal advertising as early as next year. But there appears to be more work to do, particularly regarding the controversy over allowing lawyers and law firms to use trade names.
The proposed changes to the rules for lawyer advertising in Texas are on track to be submitted for official approval.
For more than 20 years, the State Bar of Texas advertising rules have governed lawyer advertising, including print and electronic ads, websites, brochures and practically any communication about a lawyer’s legal services that reaches the public. Despite two decades of regulation, Texas lawyers and law firms still have questions about exactly what is and isn’t allowed, and the potential impact for violations.
That lack of familiarity can lead to a firm or an individual lawyer having their ad, website, etc., labeled as “noncompliant” by the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Department, which reviews lawyer advertising for violations under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Those who fail to remedy noncompliant communications may be the subject of an official complaint filed with the Bar’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
Making sure your website is compliant with the State Bar of Texas ad rules is just one of the many responsibilities for Texas lawyers and law firms who are launching a new site or updating an existing site.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct include many regulations that cover exactly what can and cannot be included on legal websites. Unfortunately, many sites are launched in a rush with no consideration for the implications of having a noncompliant site.