Communications Concerning A Lawyer's Services
(a) A lawyer shall not, on behalf of the lawyer or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the firm, use or participate in the use of any form of public communication if such communication contains a false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement or claim. For example, a communication violates this Rule if it:
(1) contains false or misleading information; or
(2) states or implies that the outcome of a particular legal matter was not or will not be related to its facts or merits; or
(3) compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated; or
(4) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
- (b) Public communication means all communication other than "in-person" communication as defined by Rule 7.3.
 This Rule governs all communications about a lawyer’s services, including advertising permitted by Rule 7.2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer’s services, statements about them must be truthful.
 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.
[2a] The legal profession should assist laypersons to recognize legal problems because such problems may not be self revealing and often are not timely noticed. Therefore, lawyers should encourage and participate in educational and public relations programs concerning our legal system, with particular reference to legal problems that frequently arise. Preparation of communications and professional articles for lay publications, participation in seminars, lectures, and civic programs, and other forms of permitted communications by lawyers to the public should be motivated by a desire to increase the public\'s awareness of legal needs and its ability to select the most appropriate counsel, rather than for the sole purpose of obtaining publicity for particular lawyers.
[2b] These Rules recognize the value of giving assistance in the lawyer selection process while avoiding falsity, deception, and misrepresentation. All such communications should be evaluated with regard to their effect on the reasonably prudent layperson. The non lawyer is best served if communications about legal problems and lawyers contain no misleading information or emotional appeals, and emphasize the necessity of an individualized evaluation of the situation before conclusions as to legal needs and probable expenses can be made. The attorney client relationship should result from a free and informed choice by the layperson. Unwarranted promises of benefits, over persuasion, vexatious or harassing conduct are improper.
 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.
Virginia Code Comparison
Rule 7.1 incorporates the provisions of DR 2-101 of the Virginia Code as they apply to all of a lawyer’s communications.
As originally adopted, Rule 7.1 addressed both lawyer communications and lawyer advertising without any distinction. As amended, Rule 7.1 applies to all lawyer communications, including lawyer advertising, whereas Rule 7.2 specifically applies to lawyer advertising. The amendment now clarifies, for example, that Rule 7.2(e) applies only to lawyer advertising.
Rule 7.2(d) was amended to include both written and e-mail communications. Subparagraph (a)(3) was added to Rule 7.2 to prohibit “advertising specific or cumulative case results,” which incorporates the Committee’s longstanding opinion found in LEO 1750.
The amendments effective November 1, 2002, rewrote the Rule and commentary thereto.
Updated: November 29, 2012