ETHICS QUESTION OF THE MONTH
This content is generated by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and is for informational purposes only. Look for the reasoning behind the answers at legalethicstexas.com.
To File or Not to File? That Is the Question
Attorney Deidre is opening a boutique law firm focused on corporate and transactional issues. She is working with an outside consultant to create a marketing campaign to advertise the firm’s opening and to highlight the nature of her practice. This effort includes:
1. A professionally designed website with webpages covering an overview of the firm and its practice areas, Deidre’s biography, her blog on corporate law, and descriptions of a select number of legal matters that Deidre has previously handled on behalf of her clients. These matters include large corporate mergers, general corporate matters, and real estate matters.
2. A one-page “tombstone” ad announcing the opening of the new firm to be mailed to specific attorneys and potential clients identified by the marketing consultant. The ad includes only the firm’s contact information, the attorneys in the firm, and the firm’s practice areas.
3. An advertisement in the Texas Bar Journal that includes the same information as the tombstone ad plus the description of past legal matters from the website.
4. Advertisements in the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, the San Antonio Business Journal, and the Austin Business Journal that are identical to the advertisement in the Texas Bar Journal.
Deidre is aware that she is required to submit certain marketing materials to the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee for approval. Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which of Deidre’s marketing materials must be submitted to the committee for approval?
A. All of them
B. Only 1, 3, and 4
C. Only 3 and 4
D. Only 1 and 4
E. None of them are required
The correct answer is D. For the reasoning behind the answer, go to legalethicstexas.com.TBJ
ABOUT THE CENTER
The Texas Center for Legal Ethics was created by three former chief justices of the Supreme Court of Texas to educate lawyers about ethics and professionalism. Lawyers can access the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, the Texas Lawyer’s Creed, and a variety of other online ethics resources by computer or smart device at legalethicstexas.com.
The information contained in Ethics Question of the Month is intended to illustrate an ethics issue of general interest in the Texas legal community; it is not intended to provide ethics advice that applies regardless of particular facts. For specific legal ethics advice, readers are urged to consult the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (including the official comments) and other authorities and/or a qualified legal ethics adviser.