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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:4- 7. 1
Subject: Rule 4 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Rules of Professional Conduct Publication / Adopted Date:September 28, 1993
Topic:Information About Legal Services - Communication Concerning a Lawyer's ServicesRevised / Effective Date:July 1, 2010


RULE 4-7.1: COMMUNICATION CONCERNING A LAWYER'S SERVICES

A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services.

A communication is false if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law.

A communication is misleading if it:
COMMENT

This Rule 4-7.1 governs all communications about a lawyer's services, including advertising permitted by Rule 4-7.2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services, statements about them should be truthful.
SUPPLEMENTAL MISSOURI COMMENT

This Rule 4-7.1 is not intended to alter the definition of "competence" as defined in Rule 4-1.1.

Rule 4-7.1 prohibits false or misleading communications. False and misleading statements have never enjoyed the limited first amendment protection afforded to other forms of commercial speech by Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), and its progeny.

Rule 4-7.1(c) allows a verifiable statement regarding the number of cases tried or handled in a particular area without the disclaimer language of Rule 4-7.1(c).

Rule 4-7.1(h) addresses the practice of using testimonials and endorsements by entertainers, sports figures, or other well-known persons. Rule 4-7.1 requires the disclosure of the fact that a payment was made to obtain the testimony or endorsement, thereby giving the public an opportunity to evaluate the credibility of the statement.

Rule 4-7.1(i) deals with simulations primarily utilized in the electronic media. Rule 4-7.1(i) permits simulations of a lawyer, client, victim, scene, or event if the advertising indicates that it is a simulation that is being portrayed. The simulation must contain a disclosure that it is a simulation in order to counteract any suggestion that the representation is a portrayal of actual fact. Rule 4-7.1(i) also permits a communication to contain a picture or other representation of the lawyer or lawyers providing the legal services that are the subject of the advertisement.

"Price" advertising can provide a valuable service to consumers of legal services and is not discouraged by the Rule 4. However, characterization of rates or fees chargeable by the lawyer or law firm such as "cut-rate," "lowest," "giveaway," "below cost," "discount," or "special" is misleading unless the comparison can be factually sustained.

A communication is false or misleading if it states or implies that the lawyer is able to influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body, or public official.

A communication that portrays a former judge in a robe or in the courtroom accompanied by a reference to the lawyer as "judge" may be misleading as it may create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve.

(Adopted September 28, 1993, effective July 1, 1995. Amended September 19, 2005, effective January 1, 2006, Rev. July 1, 2007. Amended November 25, 2009, est. July 1, 2010.)