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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct


Comment - Rule 7.1

[1] This rule governs all communications about a lawyer’s services, including advertising permitted by rule 32:7.2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer’s services, statements about them must be truthful and verifiable.

[2] Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer’s communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation.

[3] A lawyer should ensure that information contained in any advertising which the lawyer publishes, or causes to be published, is relevant, is dignified, is disseminated in an objective and understandable fashion, and would facilitate the prospective client’s ability to make an informed choice about legal representation. A lawyer should strive to communicate such information without undue emphasis upon style and advertising stratagems that hinder rather than facilitate intelligent selection of counsel. Appeal should not be made to the prospective client’s emotions, prejudices, or personal likes or dislikes. Care should be exercised to ensure that false hopes of success or undue expectations are not communicated. Only unambiguous information relevant to a layperson’s decision regarding legal rights or the selection of counsel, provided in ways that comport with the dignity of the profession and do not demean the administration of justice, is appropriate in public communications.

[4] See also rule 32:8.4(e) for the prohibition against stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.