Thursday, July 15, 2010

Should attorneys advertise?

I read Jeff Lipshaws comments from the 07/12/10 post " (DMS) His points well made. What do you think?

Jeffrey M Lipshaw is Associate Professor of law, Suffolk Law School. Please read the article.


First a look at the ethics rules of which DMS complies.

MRPC 7.2 Advertising
Oct 1, 1991 To assist the public in obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising. Advertising involves an active quest for clients, contrary to the tradition that a lawyer should not seek clientele. Nevertheless, advertising by lawyers entails the risk of practices that are misleading or overreaching. PAYING OTHERS TO RECOMMEND A LAWYER A lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by these rules and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of Rule 1.17, but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for channeling professional work. This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyer’s services. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in not-for-profit lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs.

DMS is not a private referral agency. It is simply a neutral advertising vehicle similar to Findlaw. For instance a Google search of Flint Divorce attorney and following the Findlaw link brings you to,

On DMS except for my links other attorney presence will be limited to an ad much like a Findlaw ad. See above.

In the upper right of each county page I have placed my name, phone and link to web page as an example. It is neutral advertising of contact information. Other than the ad I will have no affiliation with those attorneys.

On each counties page is the contact information for the county court house and the Friend of the Court. At the bottom is advertising of my State Wide Domestic Mediation.

My position is that complies with our ethics rules.

The real issue is dose this advertising demean the profession. Here there is a split of opinion. I'll not argue my position here. Simply stated I believe DMS complies and is a public service breaking down barriers to access.

Most importantly you raised the ethical issue. I believe DMS is ethical and will continue this discussion should I be asked.

Terry R. Bankert

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