Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing in Hawaii

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, as well as in 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: HI RPC 7.1-7.5
  • Limitations on Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (Y/N): Yes
  • 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): No
  • Non-Surname Branding (Y/N): Yes
  • Date of Last Revision: 2014

Comments:

Hawaii follows the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) fairly closely, and therefore its Rules of Professional Conduct (HI RPC) require little explanation (in contrast to states like Florida and Connecticut).  Hawaii prohibits direct contact with prospective clients except for close friends, family, and former clients.  See HI RPC 7.3(a).  Hawaii also permits all forms of marketing and advertising, provided – as warned in Comment 1 to HI RPC 7.3 – that the ability to directly and personally engage with potential clients via email, social media, and other platforms does not venture into “undue influence, intimidation, and over-reaching.”  (This, as might be expected, would be determined on a case-by-case basis.)

Hawaii requires that all marketing and advertising include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for the content and requires that all ads include “advertising material” at their beginning and end.  See HI RPC 7.3(c).  Additionally, attorneys using direct mail and email marketing would be wise to have clearly identified opt-out and unsubscribe options.  See HI RPC 7.3(b)(1). 

Hawaii allows law firms to be branded with trade names, including names of only deceased former partners of their law firm, provided that the name of a managing partner is kept on file with the Hawaii State Bar.  See HI RPC 7.5(b).  As with many other states, Hawaii prohibits the use of a public official’s name in a firm’s name when that public official is not actively practicing with the firm.  See HI RPC 7.5(d). 

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