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What are the rules for attorney advertising?

San Jose, CA |

I have a question about attorney advertising. What are the rules regarding what an attorney can advertise. For example, an attorney named Mitch A Onu claims on his website that claims "our office is one of the few around that understands e-business and e-commerce technology." This seems like a preposterous claim, particularly because the website appears to have been created by a nine year old. The site also claims that "We possess the knowledge, integrity and expertise that your enemies fear." Really? Fear? Can an attorney who has been licensed for less than two years really claim that his very mention strikes fear into the hearts of other attorneys? Has this douche bag ever even tried a case? Tell me this is not legal!

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    You have posted what is called a rhetorical question. If not rheitorical, then there is no answer that you will accept. People and companies exagerate their qualities and products all the time, and you are shocked. I totally take issue with your inappropriate language in a personal attack on an individual. Finally, you don't really have a legal problem. You are offended. Avvo is not a forum, See the banner: "Expert advice when you need it most."

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. The rules are set forth in the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1-400:

    http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/Rules/RulesofProfessionalConduct/CurrentRules/Rule1400.aspx

    Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


  3. The US Supreme Court determined that lawyer advertising is legal. Commercial speech serves a valuable purpose as long as it is not misleading. In Florida, an attorney cannot make such claims, because they disparage other attorneys skill and qualifications and is misleading. Our rules apply to our websites as well. The Florida Bar is stricter than many other states about attorney advertising. I believe that the California State Bar has rules about what California attorneys can and cannot claim.

    Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute, legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship. www.lygnoslawfirm.com Free Consultation 813 259-9494 Michael Lygnos, Esq., Lygnos Law Firm P.A., Serving Tampa Bay, Florida


  4. It doesn't sound to me like you hired this attorney. I would be very careful about posting content online in which you denigrate a licensed attorney's practice with claims of "false advertising" (per the tag above), refer to him as a douchebag, and imply that he lacks competency because he is newly admitted (Competence is required in order to be admitted to ANY state's bar, regardless of how long the attorney has practiced since admission.)

    Additionally, after looking at Attorney Onu's site, it's just fine. It's a perfectly average site for a small practice. In fact, I'd argue that he probably DOES understand e-business and e-commerce technology by virtue of the large number of SEO-centric keywording he has on his website.

    So in short, you are denigrating an attorney's reputation for no conceivable reason on this site, and asking us to do the same and tell you "Oh yes, he is a bad bad man." Unlikely to happen.

    Quit causing drama, and if you're going to call others douchebags, do a personal assessment of your own reasonings first, lest you too become the bag of douche.

    The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

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