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Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing: Delaware

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: Del. RPC 7.1–7.6; 8.4(e)
  • 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, with caution
    • 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: 2013

Comments:

Delaware follows the Model Rules relatively closely and has minimal restrictions on attorney advertising. Direct contact with prospective clients is prohibited other than with lawyers, past clients, family (sorry, relatives of Delaware attorneys), past clients, and those with personal relationships with the attorney. See Del. RPC 7.3.

Delaware attorneys are allowed to use all forms of traditional and digital marketing, from direct mailers to PPC advertisements on Google. However, attorneys must include an opt-out provision for their advertisements. See Del. RPC 7.3(b)(1). The commentary to Del. RPC 7.3 cautions that, even without a formal opting out, sending multiple communications to a party without a response from that party may violate Del. RPC 7.3(b)(1). For this reason, Delaware attorneys need to make sure that the email marketing system they are using, if any, is taking recipients off their mailing list when they are not interacting with their emails (this is a good practice, in general, as it avoids the potential of an email address being listed as a spam address). All advertisements – unless follow-up communications with potential clients – should be marked as “advertising material” in accordance with Del. RPC 7.3(c), whether on the outside of a mailer or at the beginning and end of an email marketing newsletter. Unsurprisingly, no advertisement should include claims of an ability to improperly influence the outcome of a government decision. See Del. RPC 7.4(e).

Delaware allows attorneys to use non-surname branding, provided, of course, it does not imply a connection with a government or non-profit organization. See Del. RPC 7.5. As with other states, Delaware prohibits the use of the surname of an individual holding public office in a law firm name unless that individual is actively practicing with the firm. See Del. RPC 7.5(c).

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Attorney’s Guide to Ethical Marketing: Connecticut

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: Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1-7.5 (“CT RPC”); Connecticut Superior Court Rules 2-28A, also known as the Connecticut Practice Book § 2-28A (“Ct. Prac. Bk.”) (the CT RPC are contained within the Ct. Prac. Bk., both of which can be found at State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Connecticut Practice Book (last visited Dec. 12, 2018) (direct link to PDF); Connecticut General Statutes (“CGS”) § 51-86; CGS § 51-87; CGS § 51-87A; CGS §53-340A
  • Limitations on Direct Contact with Prospective Clients (Y/N): Yes, in part.
  • 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): Yes
  • Date of Last Revision: 2014

Comments:

Before delving into the substantive restrictions on attorney advertising in Connecticut, it is worth addressing the structure of Connecticut’s laws concerning attorney advertising.  Connecticut incorporates civil and criminal limitations on advertising for legal practices in both its statutes and Court Rules, with discrepancies between the two for disciplinary matters.  See Office of Legal Research, Connecticut General Assembly Report 2006-R-0577, Attorney Discipline (Oct. 20, 2006) (viewed at https://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0577.htm).  In what is never a good sign for clear and unambiguous regulations, the state’s legislative office in charge of legal research reported that the reason the Court Rules were controlling when discrepancies existed between them and the statutes was not because of a governing decision or statute addressing controversies of law, but rather because “in practice, the rules are followed.“  Ibid. (It might just be time for the Connecticut legislature to eliminate those laws superseded by the Rules of Professional Conduct.)  Per the guidance of the Office of Legal Research, it will be the “practice” to focus on the Rules of Professional Conduct, as incorporated into the Connecticut Practice Book by the Connecticut Judiciary. 

Connecticut prevents attorneys from directly soliciting clients, for the most, when those clients are private citizens and not also friends, family, or former clients.  See CT RPC 7.3(a).  However, Connecticut permits direct solicitation of a wide range of institutional clients, including non-profits, trade organizations, and for-profit businesses.  See id. This makes sense, as public policy’s desire to protect private individuals from manipulative legal solicitations is no longer served when addressing solicitations directed at organizations that often have sophisticated officers, to include their own attorneys.

Consistent with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Connecticut permits attorneys to advertise across all traditional and electronic mediums, and the commentary to the Rules of Professional Conduct even describes more advanced forms of digital advertising, such as PPC and in-app advertisements.  See CT RPC 7.2(a) and commentary.  Due to Connecticut’s record retention and filing requirements (which will be discussed below), however, attorneys must ensure that some form of record remains for all advertisements that they can submit for filing (sorry, early adopters, that means no disappearing content marketing on Snapchat).

In Connecticut, advertisements must include the name and address of at least one lawyer admitted in Connecticut responsible for the content of the advertisement, along with language addressing contingency fee details.  All advertising should be marked as “‘Advertising Material’ in red ink on the first page of any written communication and the lower left corner of the outside envelope or container, if any, and at the beginning and ending [sic] of any communication by audio or video recording or other electronic means.”  CT RPC 7.3(c). 

Connecticut requires that attorneys retain records of their advertisements, along with a record of when and where used for three years.  See CT RPC 7.2(b)(1).  Additionally, attorneys must comply with the mandatory filing requirements imposed by Section 2-28A of the Connecticut Superior Court Rules, which requires attorneys to submit their advertisements to the Connecticut Attorney Grievance Committee prior to or at the same time as an advertisement is first used.  Connecticut includes a procedure where the State Bar Counsel randomly selects advertisements for an audit or review procedure.

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Ad Equivalency: How the Press Can Work Just Like Paid Advertising for Businesses and Non-Profits

Team Rubicon members taking part in flood relief operations

One of my passion projects is working on the marketing and public relations needs of Team Rubicon, the veteran-led disaster response organization. I manage this department for the Northwest United States, from Alaska to the Dakotas. 

In particular, I focus on using the media to spread Team Rubicon’s message, to recruit volunteers, and encourage donations.  This past month, Team Rubicon has been actively engaged in responding to wildfires in Utah and Colorado.  Working with media outlets in both states, I was able to generate press coverage for Team Rubicon equivalent to paid advertising in the amount of approximately $2.1 million dollars across online news, blogs, and television news.  

All for the price of a few emails and a few hours of drafting press releases.

Small to Mid-Sized Businesses can use the same tactics, particularly when engaged in charitable work, to market their products.  A business can – and should – reach out to media outlets to encourage others to join in helping at a homeless shelter, to offer matching donations to help in response to a local tragedy, or to encourage others to work with larger charities, such as local chapters of Habitat For Humanity.  The act of helping others, in itself, generates goodwill for businesses, and the postive media exposure provides the sort of attention that paid advertising does not – and cannot – generate.  By spending money on working with non-profits instead of on paid advertising, businesses can also benefit from the tax savings related to charitable donations.  

Click here to schedule a meeting for us to discuss how you can use media relations and non-profit work to market your business.

Buying local for veteran entrepreneurs

 

 

buying local for military families and location independent freelancers

I had the pleasure of working with talented graphic designer Rhonda Negard on a discussion of what it means to support local/small businesses when living the transient life of a military family. Rhonda has some great suggestions for freelancers regarding this topic – and a great site, overall – so head over there and check it out.

How to create a commonplace book with Bookcision and Day One

 Using Kindle, Bookcision, and Day One for maintaining a Commonplace Book.png

While there is no ideal method of reviewing your work, I find that I like to experiment with different processes. In the past, I talked about using Google Forms to maintain a commonplace book. Another option for doing this is to use a combination of Kindle (whether for a particular piece of hardware or the web version), Bookcision, and Day One to create a Commonplace Book that, due to Day One’s ability to recall when you uploaded notes, regularly appears for review.

With Evernote slowly sliding into obsolescence, I began looking for an alternative that could handle note-taking. I had already been using Day One for journaling, and reasoned that it could actually work as a primary notebook solution that did not require an astronomically-priced subscription service (at the time of this writing, Evernote costs $69.99 per year. I purchased Day One before it became a subscription service, so I do not need to pay for multiple notebooks (although I prefer to use tagging to separate my notes). I question whether I would recommend this method to those who have to pay the subscription price, but I suppose that’s a personal choice.

For me, one of the most significant challenges to assimilating knowledge from books is remembering to use that data regularly. Repeatedly reviewing material has a definite value when it comes to gaining knowledge. The benefits of repeated review are part of the reason why I considered this process concerning learning from books.

The process works under the following conditions:

  • books are read on Kindle;
  • Bookcision is used to obtain my notes and highlights;
  • My notes and highlights are copied into Day One;
  • Notes and highlights are categorized based on the four primary categories I use for all data, along with relevant sub-categories; and,
  • I use the “On this Day” function in Day One to review past journal entries, including books.

 

Productivity Tip for Small Business

My Kindle notebook

 

When reading in the Kindle ecosystem (i.e., on the web, in an app, or on an actual Kindle device), all notes and highlights are stored in the Kindle Notebook. When I finish a book, I go to the Kindle Notebook page and use Bookcision (instructions for installing the Bookcision bookmarklet can be found here ) to download truncated versions of all notes and highlights from the book, which I then copy and paste into Day One.

 

Productivity tip for Entrepreneurs

Bookcision

Note: This is not a perfect system. Amazon only allows truncated downloads from the Kindle Notebook page, but I do not need an exact copy of everything I highlight. What I need is a reference to my ideas so that I can go back and review things. The ideas are cues or starting points.

Once the material is copied into Day One, I categorize with tags as follows:

  • Author Name
  • Book Title
  • Categorical Tag, i.e.,
    • Business
    • Household
    • Health
    • Community
  • Sub-Category (this is more specific to the book’s topic, and could really fit within any category used by, say, the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress Catalogue)

 

Productivity tip for small business owners

An example of a Day One Book Entry

Additionally, if someone wanted to keep track of all things read, say, in a particular year or month, they could add chronological tags.

Each day, as part of my writing routine, I review past notes using Day One’s On this Day feature. As works I have read in the past are dated, they eventually come up once per year, so that I have an opportunity to review things I learned in the past, and the knowledge is less likely to degrade completely.

 

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