Rules of Professional Conduct

7. Information About Legal Services

ER 7.1.     Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services

A lawyer shall not make or knowingly permit to be made on the lawyer's behalf a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services.  A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.

Comment

[1] This Rule governs all communications about a lawyer's services, including advertising permitted by ER 7.2.  Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services, statements about them must be truthful. A clear and conspicuous disclaimer or qualifying language may preclude a finding that a statement is false or misleading.

[2] Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this Rule.  A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer's communication considered as a whole not materially misleading.  A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer's services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation.

[3] Promising or guaranteeing a particular outcome or result is misleading. A communication that truthfully reports a lawyer's achievements on behalf of clients or former clients may be misleading if presented so as to lead a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case. Similarly, an unsubstantiated comparison of the lawyer's services or fees with the services or fees of other lawyers may be misleading if presented with such specificity as would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the comparison can be substantiated.  The inclusion of a clear and conspicuous disclaimer or qualifying language may preclude a finding that a statement is likely to create unjustified expectations or otherwise mislead a prospective client.

[4] See also ER 8.4(e) for the prohibition against stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

[5] Whether a communication about a lawyer or legal services is false or misleading is based upon the perception of a reasonable person.

[6] See comment to ER 5.5(b)(2) regarding advertisements and communications by non-members. A non-member lawyer’s failure to inform prospective clients that the lawyer is not licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Arizona or has limited his or her practice to federal or tribal legal matters may be misleading.