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: Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (IRPC) of 2010, M.R.P.C. 3140, IRPC 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: 2016
Illinois has recently revised its Rules of Professional Conduct, and the commentary to the relevant portions of the IRPC show a greater familiarity with and acceptance of digital marketing. See, e.g., Commentary to IRPC 7.2 and 7.3 (expressly authorizing pay-per-click advertisements and limiting attorney-initiated real-time contact with prospective clients).
Illinois mostly follows the MRPC with respect to prohibiting direct solicitation of clients that are not also lawyers, members of the soliciting attorney’s family, or members of the soliciting attorney’s close personal or professional circle. See IRPC 7.3(a). Where Illinois deviates from the rules raises interesting questions for certain digital technologies. Illinois expressly prohibits direct real-time electronic solicitation in a way that may make the use of chatbots on attorney websites tricky. Attorneys who use chatbots may want to include a disclaimer that the chatbot is not intended to be real-time direct contact with a specific consumer and not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. As with all attorney marketing, chatbot content should be clearly marked as advertising content. See IRPC 7.3(c).