Rule 7.02. Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services

(a) A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the qualifications or the services of any lawyer or firm. A communication is false or misleading if it:

(1) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading;

(2) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate these rules or other law;

(3) compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be substantiated by reference to verifiable, objective data;

(4) states or implies that the lawyer is able to influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body, or public official: or

(5 designates one or more specific areas of practice in an advertisement in the public media or in a written solicitation unless the advertising lawyer is competent to handle legal matters in each such area of practice.

(b) Rule 7.02(a)(5) does not require that a lawyer be certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization at the time of advertising in a specific area of practice, but such certification shall conclusively establish that such lawyer satisfies the requirements of Rule 7.02(a)(5) with respect to the area(s) of practice in which such lawyer is certified.

(c) A lawyer shall not advertise in the public media that the lawyer is a specialist except as permitted under Rule 7.04.

(d) Any statement or disclaimer required by these rules shall be made in each language used in the advertisement or writing with respect to which such required statement or disclaimer relates; provided however, the mere statement that a particular language is spoken or understood shall not alone result in the need for a statement or disclaimer in that language.


Comment - Rule 7.02

1. The Rules within Part VII are intended to regulate communications made for the purpose of obtaining professional employment. They are not intended to affect other forms or speech by lawyers', such as political advertisements or political commentary, except insofar as a lawyer's effort to obtain employment is linked to a matter of current public debate.

2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services, statements about them should be truthful and nondeceptive; subparagraph (a)(1) recognizes that statements can be misleading both by what they contain and what they leave out. Statements that are false or misleading for either reason are prohibited. The prohibitions in subparagraph (a)(2) of statements that may create an "unjustified expectation" and in subparagraph (a)(3) of comparisons of lawyers' services unless those comparisons "can be substantiated by reference to verifiable objective data" are each designated to prevent lawyers from misleading members of the public as they seek legal services. Those provisions would ordinarily preclude advertisements in the public media and written solicitation communications that discuss the results obtained on behalf of a client, such as the amount of a damage award, the lawyer's record in obtaining favorable settlements or verdicts, as well as those that contain client endorsements. Unless accompanied by appropriate, prominent qualifications and disclaimers, that information can readily mislead prospective clients into believing that similar results can be obtained for them without reference to their specific factual and legal circumstances. Similarly, statements comparing a lawyer's services with those of another where the comparisons are not susceptible of precise measurement or verification, such as "we are the toughest lawyers in town", "we will get money for you when other lawyers can't", or "we are the best law firm in Texas if you want a large recovery" can deceive or mislead prospective clients. On the other hand, a simple statement of a lawyer's own qualifications devoid of comparisons to other lawyers does not pose the same risk of being misleading and does not fall within this Rule. See Rule 7.04. A lawyer making a referral to another lawyer may or course, express a good faith subjective opinion regarding that lawyer.

3. This Rule does not prohibit communication of information concerning a lawyer's name or firm name, address and telephone numbers; the basis on which the lawyer's fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; name of references and with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other truthful information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance when a communication permitted by Rule 7.02 is made in the public media, the lawyer should consult Rule 7.04 for further guidance and restrictions when a communication permitted by Rule 7.02 is made by a lawyer through a written solicitation, the lawyer should consult Rule 7.05 for further guidance and restrictions.

Communication of Fields of Practice

4. Paragraphs (a)(5), (b) and (c) of Rule 7.02 regulate communications concerning a lawyer's fields of practice and should be construed together with Rule 1.04 or 7.05, as applicable. If a lawyer in a public media advertisement or in a written solicitation designates one or more specific areas of practice, that designation is at least an implicit representation that the lawyer is qualified in the areas designated. Accordingly, Rule 7.02(a)(5) prohibits the designation of a field of practice unless the communicating lawyer is in fact competent in the area.

5. Typically, one would expect competency to be measured by special education, training, or experience in the particular area of law designated. Because certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization involves special education, training, and experience, certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization conclusively establishes that a lawyer meets the requirements of Rule 7.02(a)(5) in any area in which the Board has certified the lawyer. However, competency may be established by means other than certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. See Rule 7.04(b).

6. Lawyers who wish to advertise in the public media that they specialize should refer to Rule 7.04(a), (b) and (c). Lawyers who wish to assert a specialty in a written solicitation should refer to Rule 7.05(a)(4) and (b)(1).

Communication in a Second Language

7. The ability of lawyers to communicate in a second language can facilitate the delivery and receipt of legal services. . Accordingly, it is in the best interest of the public that potential clients by made aware of a lawyer's language ability. A lawyer may state an ability to communicate in a second language without any further elaboration. However, if a lawyer chooses to communicate with potential clients in a second language, all statements or disclaimers required by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct must also be made in that language. See paragraph (d). Communicating some information in one language while communicating the rest in another is potentially misleading if the recipient understands only one of the languages.