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Direct Mail Ads – Look Out for a Rule Change

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Today, the NC Ethics Committee voted to publish a revision to Rule 7.3(c). The Rule currently requires that all direct mail solicitations contain the words, THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES, on both the front of the envelope and at the beginning of the body of the letter. On the envelope, the font of the disclaimer must be larger than any other print on the envelope. For the letter, the existing Rule requires that the font be as large as or larger that the lawyer’s name or firm name appears in the letterhead. So what’s the proposed change? The font of the disclaimer on the letterhead would now need to be “as large as or larger than any other printing in the communication.” “Who cares?” you say. Lawyers who use targeted direct mail, that’s who. What if you include a brochure in your communication? The current wording would appear to require that the disclaimer on the letterhead be as large as or larger than any printing on the brochure as well. What if you have logos and pictures in your materials? It’s not clear. What if you have a watermark on your letterhead? Who knows? Keep watching. We should have answers soon.