Rule 7.2 Advertising

Editor’s Note:  This rule, and the comments to it, were deleted by Court Order dated September 1, 2021.   Advertising is discussed in modified RPC 7.1.   

(a) Subject to the requirements of paragraphs (b) through (d) below and RPCs 7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, and 7.6, a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded, or electronic communication, including public media.

(b) A copy or recording of each advertisement shall be retained by the lawyer for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where the advertisement appeared.

(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending or publicizing the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may pay for the following:

(1) the reasonable costs of advertisements permitted by this Rule;

(2) the usual charges of a registered intermediary organization as permitted by RPC 7.6;

(3) a sponsorship fee or a contribution to a charitable or other non-profit organization in return for which the lawyer will be given publicity as a lawyer; or

(4) a law practice in accordance with RPC 1.17.

(d) Except for communications by registered intermediary organizations, any advertisement shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm assuming responsibility for the communication.


[1] This Rule governs general advertising through public media and other communications that are not directed to specifically identified individuals. The Rule encompasses all possible media through which such communications may be directed to the public. Communications that are directed to specifically identified recipients are governed by RPC 7.3.

[2] To assist the public in learning about and obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising. Further, the public’s need to know about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising. This need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who have not made extensive use of legal services. The interest in expanding public information about legal services is significant. Nevertheless, advertising by lawyers shall not contain false or misleading communications about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.

[3] Among other things, this Rule permits public dissemination of information concerning a lawyer’s name or firm name, address, email address, website, and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer’s fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; a lawyer’s foreign language ability; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.

[4] Neither this Rule nor RPC 7.3 prohibits communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a class in class action litigation.

Record of Advertising

[5] Paragraph (b) requires that a lawyer retain a copy or recording of any advertisement for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where the advertisement appeared. If advertisements that are similar in all material respects are published or displayed more than once or distributed to more than one person, the lawyer may comply with this requirement by retaining a single copy of the advertisement for two years after the last of the materially similar advertisements are disseminated. A lawyer may comply with the requirement of paragraph (b) by complying with guidelines that may be adopted by the Board of Professional Responsibility concerning certain types of advertisements, including websites, e-mail, or other electronic forms of communication or of changes to such communications.

Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer

[6] A lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by this Rule and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of RPC 1.17, but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for channeling professional work to the lawyer. This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyer’s services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in not-for-profit lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by this Rule.

[7] A lawyer may compensate employees, agents, and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client-development services, such as publicists, public-relations personnel, business-development staff and website designers.  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 RPCs 1.5(e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), the lead generator’s communications are consistent with RPC 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer’s services), and subject to RPC 7.6 and Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 44 if the lead generator qualifies as an intermediary organization pursuant to RPC 7.6.  To comply with RPC 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.  See also RPC 5.3 (duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers); RPC 8.4(a) (duty to avoid violating the Rules through the acts of another).

Definitional Cross-References

“Law firm” See RPC 1.0(c)

“Reasonable” See RPC 1.0(h)

“Written” See RPC 1.0(n)


Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 8: Rules of Professional Conduct Copyright © 2021 by BirdDog Law, LLC (No copyright claimed as to government works.). All Rights Reserved.