Is Legal Lead Generation Legal?
Legal Marketing Leads is a legal marketing and lead generation company committed to providing leads to licensed attorneys in a professionally responsible and ethical manner. We are knowledgeable about the ethics rules, including respective amendments, and provide detail regarding how our providers generate leads.
In 2012, the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association (ABA) amended the Model Rules of Professional Conduct “to provide guidance regarding lawyer’s use of technology and client development.”
Following is an excerpt from the ABA regarding lead generation services:
 Moreover, a lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5(e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), and the lead generator’s communications are consistent with Rule 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer’s services). To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person’s legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral.
Based upon the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, we abide by the following relevant rules:
- We comply with Rule 7.1: Communications Concerning A Lawyer’s ServicesBy not compensating a lead generator that mentions, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that recommends an attorney, makes an attorney-referral that incudes payment, or analyzes an individual’s legal issues in order to guide them to a particular attorney. See also Rule 5.3 (obligations attorneys and law firms have regarding conduct non-lawyers); Rule 8.4 (obligation to prevent violation of the Rules via the conduct of another).
- We Comply With Rule 1.5(e): Fees
- We Comply With Rule 5.5:
Rule 7.1 Communications Concerning A Lawyer’s Services
A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
Rule 7.2: Advertising
(a) Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media.
(b) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may
(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;
(2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A qualified lawyer referral service is a lawyer referral service that has been approved by an appropriate regulatory authority;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17; and
(4) refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if
(i) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and
(ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.
(c) Any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.