Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing: Georgia
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.
- Relevant Citations: GA RPC 7.1–7.5
- Limitations on Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (Y/N): No
- 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
- Opt-Out Requirement (Y/N): Yes
- Retention and Record Keeping Requirement (Y/N): Yes
- Non-Surname Branding (Y/N): No
- Date of Last Revision: January 1, 2001
Generally, Georgia follows the template of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC). Georgia does deviate, however, in some areas.
First, Georgia permits direct contact (solicitation) with prospective clients provided that the communication is marked “Advertisement” on the face of the envelope and on the top of each page of the written communication. See GA RPC 7.3(b) (however, this is unnecessary when writing to a close friend, relative, former client, or “one whom the lawyer reasonably believes is a former client”). This is a substantial deviation from the norms set forth in the MRPC and from the ethics rules used by many other states.
Attorney advertisements must include the following:
- the name and office location of at least one lawyer responsible for the content;
- a disclaimer regarding contingency fees when discussing such fees in the advertisement;
- an explanation of whether a client will pay court costs and other filing fees;
- an identification of the advertisement as such;
- identification of the use of a referral practice;
- disclosure of spokespersons and portrayals (when used); and,
- disclosures regarding the fees charged for services advertised.
See GA RPC 7.2(c)(1)-(5).
Georgia does require that attorneys include the ability to opt out of attorney communication, and imposes discipline when attorneys submit communications when they are already aware that the person does not wish to receive communication. See GA RPC 7.3. Additionally, Georgia requires attorneys to keep a copy of all of the advertisements they use for two years after the date of last use, along with a record of all of the marketing channels in which they used the advertisements (and the dates in which the advertisements were used). See GA RPC 7.2(b).
Georgia deviates from the MRPC, not only by permitting direct solicitation, but also by forbidding the use of non-surname trade names. See GA RPC 7.5(e)(1)-(2). Georgia requires attorneys to use the name of at least one of the lawyers practicing in the firm, although that can include the names of deceased or retired members of the firm. Ibid.