ADVERTISING - It is not ethically proper for an attorney to advertise his/her services through the use of advertisements which do not identify the name or names of the attorney responsible for such advertisements.
The Ethics Committee of The Mississippi Bar has been requested to render an opinion on the following question:
Is it ethically permissible for an individual, partnership, law firm or group of sole practitioners or law partnerships to advertise in the State of Mississippi through blind advertising (i.e. "Personal Injury Hotline", "Legal Hotline", etc.)? The advertisement in question does not furnish the name of the lawyer(s) responsible therefor.
Advertising by attorneys in the State of Mississippi is permissible subject to the confines and requirements of MRPC 7.1 through 7.7 of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"). Rule 7.1, MRPC provides that "A lawyer shall not make a false, deceptive or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. These rules govern all communications about a lawyer's services in the State of Mississippi, including advertising as permitted by Rule 7.2, MRPC.
The method of advertising presented to the Ethics Committee in the above factual situation fails to meet the requirements of Rule 7.2(d), MRPC, which provides "All advertisements and written communications provid3ed for under these rules shall include the name of at least one lawyer or the lawyer referral service responsible for their content."
"Blind advertisements", as well as other public communications regarding the availability of legal services, must include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for the content of such communication.
Ethics Opinion Numbers 146 and 162, addressed circumstances similar to those presented hereinabove. Even though none of these opinions addressed the question of "blind advertisements" per se, each held that for an advertisement to be permissible under MRPC Rule 7.1, the requirements of MRPC Rule 7.2 must be met. Clearly, "blind advertisements" do not meet the requirements of MRPC 7.2(d) in that the name of at least one lawyer responsible for the content of the advertisement is not provided. Such advertisements would, therefore, not be considered ethical and proper in the State of Mississippi.