Why Does This Rule Apply to Lawyers in California?
Rules regarding advertising for lawyers has changed over the years. In some countries, earlier, lawyers were not allowed to advertise. This was also the view encouraged by the American Bar Association for the earlier part of the twentieth century. Landmark litigation in the seventies, notably the cases of Bates and O'steen, changed this. Advertising by lawyers was ultimately found by the Supreme Court to be a First Amendment Right.
In California, advertising by lawyers is generally accepted and regulated. The California State Bar does not permit lawyers to guarantee a result or to make false claims when communicating with future clients. When a member of the public has a legal issue to deal with, this person might be emotionally vulnerable and our governing authority does not want wild or outrageous claims to sway a person from seeking the most sensible source of legal help.
This webpage tells the public about me and my practice. In that sense it is a 'communication' as defined and I take care to remind the public of the following: This site is a communication in terms of Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400. The information in this family law site is not meant to constitute legal advice, and nothing in this site constitutes a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of any legal matter.
Further, advertising in this site is limited to California. All photos and graphics are for artistic purposes only, and none of the images are those of staff or clients, unless otherwise stated. This communication is void where prohibited. Visiting, reading or studying this site does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Tristan teGroen, the attorney responsible for this site.
For purposes of this Rule, "communication" generally means any message or offer made by or on behalf of a member concerning the availability for professional employment and "solicitation" generally means any communication concerning the availability for professional employment of a member or a law firm in which a significant motive is pecuniary gain. This is a simplified version of the rule. The complete text may be found here.