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Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Welcome Ethical Clarification and Practical Insights

NEWS

On May 18, 2022, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an Administrative Order in response to two motions to amend the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (“MRPC”) governing advertising and solicitation. The motions, brought by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and the Minnesota State Bar Association, sought to update Minnesota’s lawyer-advertising rules as set out in Rules 7.2 to 7.5, MRPC. While the Court did not adopt all of the requested changes, the adopted amendments provide important clarifications regarding various advertising issues that commonly confront Minnesota lawyers and law firms.


The Court first adopted a change to Rule 7.2, MRPC, which governs communications regarding a lawyer’s services. That Rule has been amended to clarify that communications may be made through any type of media. In addition, the Court adopted a change to explicitly permit “nominal gifts as an expression of appreciation that are neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services.” Rule 7.2(b)(5). This clarifies that attorneys are able to give “nominal gifts” (i.e., tickets, drinks, dinners, etc.) to referral sources within the bounds of the MRPC.

In addition, the Rule regarding listing oneself as a “specialist” was moved and slightly modified. That Rule governs the circumstances in which a lawyer may describe or imply that they are a “specialist” in a particular field of law. Under the Court’s amendments, the Rule was moved from Rule 7.4(d) to Rule 7.2(c).

Finally, the Rules were amended to clarify the conduct that is defined as “solicitation” to make clear that an attorney must only follow the solicitation rules (rather than general advertisement rules) only when the communication for an attorney’s services is being directed to “a specific person whom the lawyer knows or reasonably should know needs legal services in a particular matter and that offers to provide . . . legal services for that matter.” It also amends Rule 7.3(b) to allow solicitation to individuals who have a prior relationship with the attorney’s “law firm” as opposed to a direct and personal relationship.

A full version of the amendments can be found here. Contact Aram Desteian if you have any questions regarding the Rules update.

Bassford Remele proudly serves as local and national counsel for many major corporations and Fortune 500 Companies and is a go-to litigation firm representing local, national, and international clients in state and federal courts across the region.


Bassford Remele | May 18, 2022