Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing: Colorado
This post is part of the Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing, a series of posts (and eventually an eBook) that provides attorneys with a summary of key ethical rules for marketing across all fifty states, and the US territories. If you want to be notified when your jurisdiction is covered, subscribe to The Dead Drop, my monthly newsletter covering updates from this site and beyond on marketing, law, and the psychology of persuasion.
• Limitations on Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (Y/N): Yes. Direct contact permitted only via regular mail and only for other lawyers and for the soliciting lawyer’s family. See Colo. RPC 7.1 and 7.3.
• Permitted Forms of Marketing
• Traditional Media (Y/N): Yes
• Inbound Marketing (Y/N): Yes
• Social Media Marketing (Y/N): Yes
• Email Marketing (Y/N): Yes
• PPC Advertising (Y/N): Yes
• Mandatory Language (Y/N): Yes. See Colo. RPC 7.2(c), which states that attorney advertisements must include the name and office address of at least one responsible lawyer or law firm.
• Opt-Out Requirement (Y/N): Yes. See Colo. RPC 7.3(b)(1).
• Retention and Record-Keeping Requirement (Y/N): No
• Non-Surname Branding (Y/N): Yes, in part. Colorado prohibits the use of the names of public office holders in law firm names unless the holders of public office are practicing with the firm. See Colo. RPC 7.5(c).
• Date of Last Revision: April 12, 2018. See Colo. RPC 9.
Other than noting a provision prohibiting law practices from obtaining public appointments via officials to whom they made campaign contributions, there is little to say about the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. See Colo. RPC 7.6. The Colo. RPCs are short and sweet, fairly closely following the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Perhaps that’s a bit of burnout after the morass that was California, or perhaps it indicates areas of concern.
One area of concern may be in how the rules are written broadly, allowing for potential disputes concerning the intent behind the rules. For example, Colo. RPC 7.2 provides that attorneys may use all forms of “written, recorded, and electronic communication, including public media.” Colo. RPC 7.2(a) (it should be noted that this is a change from the model rules, which allow advertising across all mediums). No definition is provided in the Supreme Court Commentary to the rules as to what consititutes “public media,” nor are common questions answered about the content of the advertisement, other than the general prohibitions about false and misleading statements. While other jurisdictions address questions regarding the use of client testimonials, celebrity spokespersons and endorsements, mandatory use of language in the content of advertising, and the like (for example, see how detailed California and Arizona go in treating the content of advertisements, going so far as to regulate the style of text used in print advertisements). This may mean that Colorado is more flexible in how the courts can regulate attorney conduct, using broader rules open to more interpretation to handle attorney behavior, but it also means that attorneys have less specific guidance for knowing how to comply with the rules.