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Justices OK revision of lawyer ad rules in Nevada

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court has signed off on various revisions to lawyer advertising rules, including new provisions regarding disclaimers and the use of actors.

The revisions were made in November after an extensive review of major rule changes in 2007, State Bar President Frank Flaherty told the Nevada Appeal.

The latest changes are intended to ensure that the public is not swayed by misleading information in ads when it seeks legal help, he said. Among other things, the new rules require actors to be clearly identified as such in ads and require disclaimers to be clearly displayed in both print and television ads.

“For print ads, disclaimers must be big enough to see,” Flaherty said.

Also, ads listing a specific fee or range of fees now must list how long they remain in effect and other limitations, and they can’t promise that clients must pay only if their attorney wins the case.

“Sometimes when you lose, you have to pay the other guy’s costs,” Flaherty said.

The new rules also require the naming of lawyers who will provide services touted in ads and require the dollar amount of a court award listed in an ad to be the amount received by a client.

If a gross amount of an award is stated, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and other costs must be disclosed as well.

Lawyers can continue to cite their records and results in ads. “But you can only cite the results if you were lead counsel in the matter or key in the result,” Flaherty said.

For the past five years, lawyers have been required to submit ads to review committees. Flaherty said the bar can’t require such review before publication or broadcast because of First Amendment issues involving prior restraint. Instead, they must be submitted within 15 days of publication or broadcast.

If a review committee of volunteers finds any ad deceptive or misleading, it must be removed.

In another matter, a rule targeting “ambulance-chasing” attorneys was relaxed. Lawyers had been barred from seeking to represent someone for at least 45 days after an accident that could lead to litigation, but the new rules cut that to 30 days.

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