State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > California > Bpc > 6157-6159.2

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE
SECTION 6157-6159.2



6157.  As used in this article, the following definitions apply:
   (a) "Member" means a member in good standing of the State Bar and
includes any agent of the member and any law firm or law corporation
doing business in the State of California.
   (b) "Lawyer" means a member of the State Bar or a person who is
admitted in good standing and eligible to practice before the bar of
any United States court or the highest court of the District of
Columbia or any state, territory, or insular possession of the United
States, or is licensed to practice law in, or is admitted in good
standing and eligible to practice before the bar of the highest court
of, a foreign country or any political subdivision thereof, and
includes any agent of the lawyer, law firm, or law corporation doing
business in the state.
   (c) "Advertise" or "advertisement" means any communication,
disseminated by television or radio, by any print medium, including,
but not limited to, newspapers and billboards, or by means of a
mailing directed generally to members of the public and not to a
specific person, that solicits employment of legal services provided
by a member, and is directed to the general public and is paid for
by, or on the behalf of, an attorney.
   (d) "Electronic medium" means television, radio, or computer
networks.



6157.1.  No advertisement shall contain any false, misleading, or
deceptive statement or omit to state any fact necessary to make the
statements made, in light of circumstances under which they are made,
not false, misleading, or deceptive.



6157.2.  No advertisement shall contain or refer to any of the
following:
   (a) Any guarantee or warranty regarding the outcome of a legal
matter as a result of representation by the member.
   (b) Statements or symbols stating that the member featured in the
advertisement can generally obtain immediate cash or quick
settlements.
   (c) (1) An impersonation of the name, voice, photograph, or
electronic image of any person other than the lawyer, directly or
implicitly purporting to be that of a lawyer.
   (2) An impersonation of the name, voice, photograph, or electronic
image of any person, directly or implicitly purporting to be a
client of the member featured in the advertisement, or a
dramatization of events, unless disclosure of the impersonation or
dramatization is made in the advertisement.
   (3) A spokesperson, including a celebrity spokesperson, unless
there is disclosure of the spokesperson's title.
   (d) A statement that a member offers representation on a
contingent basis unless the statement also advises whether a client
will be held responsible for any costs advanced by the member when no
recovery is obtained on behalf of the client. If the client will not
be held responsible for costs, no disclosure is required.



6157.3.  Any advertisement made on behalf of a member, which is not
paid for by the member, shall disclose any business relationship,
past or present, between the member and the person paying for the
advertisement.


6157.4.  Any advertisement that is created or disseminated by a
lawyer referral service shall disclose whether the attorneys on the
organization's referral list, panel, or system, paid any
consideration, other than a proportional share of actual cost, to be
included on that list, panel, or system.



6157.5.  (a) All advertisements published, distributed, or
broadcasted by or on behalf of a member seeking professional
employment for the member in providing services relating to
immigration or naturalization shall include a statement that he or
she is an active member of the State Bar, licensed to practice law in
this state. If the advertisement seeks employment for a law firm or
law corporation employing more than one attorney, the advertisement
shall include a statement that all the services relating to
immigration and naturalization provided by the firm or corporation
shall be provided by an active member of the State Bar or by a person
under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. This
subdivision shall not apply to classified or "yellow pages" listings
in a telephone or business directory of three lines or less that
state only the name, address, and telephone number of the listed
entity.
   (b) If the advertisement is in a language other than English, the
statement required by subdivision (a) shall be in the same language
as the advertisement.
   (c) This section shall not apply to members employed by public
agencies or by nonprofit entities registered with the Secretary of
State.
   (d) A violation of this section by a member shall be cause for
discipline by the State Bar.



6158.  In advertising by electronic media, to comply with Sections
61571.1 and 6157.2, the message as a whole may not be false,
misleading, or deceptive, and the message as a whole must be
factually substantiated. The message means the effect in combination
of the spoken word, sound, background, action, symbols, visual image,
or any other technique employed to create the message. Factually
substantiated means capable of verification by a credible source.



6158.1.  There shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the
burden of producing evidence that the following messages are false,
misleading, or deceptive within the meaning of Section 6158:
   (a) A message as to the ultimate result of a specific case or
cases presented out of context without adequately providing
information as to the facts or law giving rise to the result.
   (b) The depiction of an event through methods such as the use of
displays of injuries, accident scenes, or portrayals of other
injurious events which may or may not be accompanied by sound effects
and which may give rise to a claim for compensation.
   (c) A message referring to or implying money received by or for a
client in a particular case or cases, or to potential monetary
recovery for a prospective client. A reference to money or monetary
recovery includes, but is not limited to, a specific dollar amount,
characterization of a sum of money, monetary symbols, or the
implication of wealth.



6158.2.  The following information shall be presumed to be in
compliance with this article for purposes of advertising by
electronic media, provided the message as a whole is not false,
misleading, or deceptive:
   (a) Name, including name of law firm, names of professional
associates, addresses, telephone numbers, and the designation
"lawyer," "attorney," "law firm," or the like.
   (b) Fields of practice, limitation of practice, or specialization.
   (c) Fees for routine legal services, subject to the requirements
of subdivision (d) of Section 6157.2 and the Rules of Professional
Conduct.
   (d) Date and place of birth.
   (e) Date and place of admission to the bar of state and federal
courts.
   (f) Schools attended, with dates of graduation, degrees, and other
scholastic distinctions.
   (g) Public or quasi-public offices.
   (h) Military service.
   (i) Legal authorship.
   (j) Legal teaching positions.
   (k) Memberships, offices, and committee assignments in bar
associations.
   (l) Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal
societies.
   (m) Technical and professional licenses.
   (n) Memberships in scientific, technical, and professional
associations and societies.
   (o) Foreign language ability of the advertising lawyer or a member
of lawyer's firm.



6158.3.  In addition to any disclosure required by Section 6157.2,
Section 6157.3, and the Rules of Professional Conduct, the following
disclosure shall appear in advertising by electronic media. Use of
the following disclosure alone may not rebut any presumption created
in Section 6158.1. If an advertisement in the electronic media
conveys a message portraying a result in a particular case or cases,
the advertisement must state, in either an oral or printed
communication, either of the following disclosures: The advertisement
must adequately disclose the factual and legal circumstances that
justify the result portrayed in the message, including the basis for
liability and the nature of injury or damage sustained, or the
advertisement must state that the result portrayed in the
advertisement was dependent on the facts of that case, and that the
results will differ if based on different facts.



6158.4.  (a) Any person claiming a violation of Section 6158,
6158.1, or 6158.3 may file a complaint with the State Bar that states
the name of the advertiser, a description of the advertisement
claimed to violate these sections, and that specifically identifies
the alleged violation. A copy of the complaint shall be served
simultaneously upon the advertiser. The advertiser shall have nine
days from the date of service of the complaint to voluntarily
withdraw from broadcast the advertisement that is the subject of the
complaint. If the advertiser elects to withdraw the advertisement,
the advertiser shall notify the State Bar of that fact, and no
further action may be taken by the complainant. The advertiser shall
provide a copy of the complained of advertisement to the State Bar
for review within seven days of service of the complaint. Within 21
days of the delivery of the complained of advertisement, the State
Bar shall determine whether substantial evidence of a violation of
these sections exists. The review shall be conducted by a State Bar
attorney who has expertise in the area of lawyer advertising.
   (b) (1) Upon a State Bar determination that substantial evidence
of a violation exists, if the member or certified lawyer referral
service withdraws that advertisement from broadcast within 72 hours,
no further action may be taken by the complainant.
   (2) Upon a State Bar determination that substantial evidence of a
violation exists, if the member or certified lawyer referral service
fails to withdraw the advertisement within 72 hours, a civil
enforcement action brought pursuant to subdivision (e) may be
commenced within one year of the State Bar decision. If the member or
certified lawyer referral service withdraws an advertisement upon a
State Bar determination that substantial evidence of a violation
exists and subsequently rebroadcasts the same advertisement without a
finding by the trier of fact in an action brought pursuant to
subdivision (c) or (e) that the advertisement does not violate
Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3, a civil enforcement action may be
commenced within one year of the rebroadcast.
   (3) Upon a determination that substantial evidence of a violation
does not exist, the complainant is barred from bringing a civil
enforcement action pursuant to subdivision (e), but may bring an
action for declaratory relief pursuant to subdivision (c).
   (c) Any member or certified lawyer referral service who was the
subject of a complaint and any complainant affected by the decision
of the State Bar may bring an action for declaratory relief in the
superior court to obtain a judicial declaration of whether Section
6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 has been violated, and, if applicable, may
also request injunctive relief. Any defense otherwise available at
law may be raised for the first time in the declaratory relief
action, including any constitutional challenge. Any civil enforcement
action filed pursuant to subdivision (e) shall be stayed pending the
resolution of the declaratory relief action. The action shall be
defended by the real party in interest. The State Bar shall not be
considered a party to the action unless it elects to intervene in the
action.
   (1) Upon a State Bar determination that substantial evidence of a
violation exists, if the complainant or the member or certified
lawyer referral service brings an action for declaratory relief to
obtain a judicial declaration of whether the advertisement violates
Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3, and the court declares that the
advertisement violates one or more of the sections, a civil
enforcement action pursuant to subdivision (e) may be filed or
maintained if the member or certified lawyer referral service failed
to withdraw the advertisement within 72 hours of the State Bar
determination. The decision of the court that an advertisement
violates Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 shall be binding on the
issue of whether the advertisement is unlawful in any pending or
prospective civil enforcement action brought pursuant to subdivision
(e) if that binding effect is supported by the doctrine of collateral
estoppel or res judicata.
   If, in that declaratory relief action, the court declares that the
advertisement does not violate Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3, the
member or lawyer referral service may broadcast the advertisement.
The decision of the court that an advertisement does not violate
Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 shall bar any pending or prospective
civil enforcement action brought pursuant to subdivision (e) if that
prohibitive effect is supported by the doctrine of collateral
estoppel or res judicata.
   (2) If, following a State Bar determination that does not find
substantial evidence that an advertisement violates Section 6158,
6158.1, or 6158.3, the complainant or the member or certified lawyer
referral service brings an action for declaratory relief to obtain a
judicial declaration of whether the advertisement violates Section
6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3, and the court declares that the
advertisement violates one or more of the sections, a civil
enforcement action pursuant to subdivision (e) may be filed or
maintained if the member or certified lawyer referral service
broadcasts the same advertisement following the decision in the
declaratory relief action. The decision of the court that an
advertisement violates Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 shall be
binding on the issue of whether the advertisement is unlawful in any
pending or prospective civil enforcement action brought pursuant to
subdivision (e) if that binding effect is supported by the doctrine
of collateral estoppel or res judicata.
   If, in that declaratory relief action, the court declares that the
advertisement does not violate Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3, the
member or lawyer referral service may continue broadcast of the
advertisement. The decision of the court that an advertisement does
not violate Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 shall bar any pending or
prospective civil enforcement action brought pursuant to subdivision
(e) if that prohibitive effect is supported by the doctrine of
collateral estoppel or res judicata.
   (d) The State Bar review procedure shall apply only to members and
certified referral services. A direct civil enforcement action for a
violation of Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 may be maintained
against any other advertiser after first giving 14 days' notice to
the advertiser of the alleged violation. If the advertiser does not
withdraw from broadcast the advertisement that is the subject of the
notice within 14 days of service of the notice, a civil enforcement
action pursuant to subdivision (e) may be commenced. The civil
enforcement action shall be commenced within one year of the date of
the last publication or broadcast of the advertisement that is the
subject of the action.
   (e) Subject to Section 6158.5, a violation of Section 6158,
6158.1, or 6158.3 shall be cause for a civil enforcement action
brought by any person residing within the State of California for an
amount up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each individual
broadcast that violates Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3. Venue shall
be in a county where the advertisement was broadcast.
   (f) In any civil action brought pursuant to this section, the
matter shall be determined according to the law and procedure
relating to the trial of civil actions, including trial by jury, if
demanded.
   (g) The decision of the State Bar pursuant to subdivision (a)
shall be admissible in the civil enforcement action brought pursuant
to subdivision (e). However, the State Bar shall not be a party or a
witness in either a declaratory relief proceeding brought pursuant to
subdivision (c) or the civil enforcement action brought pursuant to
subdivision (e). Additionally, no direct action may be filed against
the State Bar challenging the State Bar's decision pursuant to
subdivision (a).
   (h)  Amounts recovered pursuant to this section shall be paid into
the Client Security Fund maintained by the State Bar.
   (i) In any civil action brought pursuant to this section, the
court shall award attorney's fees pursuant to Section 1021.5 of the
Code of Civil Procedure if the court finds that the action has
resulted in the enforcement of an important public interest or that a
significant benefit has been conferred on the public.
   (j) The State Bar shall maintain records of all complainants and
complaints filed pursuant to subdivision (a) for a period of seven
years. If a complainant files five or more unfounded complaints
within seven years, the complainant shall be considered a vexatious
litigant for purposes of this section. The State Bar shall require
any person deemed a vexatious litigant to post security in the
minimum amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) prior to
considering any complaint filed by that person and shall refrain from
taking any action until the security is posted. In any civil action
arising from this section brought by a person deemed a vexatious
litigant, the defendant may advise the court and trier of fact that
the plaintiff is deemed to be a vexatious litigant under the
provisions of this section and disclose the basis for this
determination.
   (k) Nothing in this section shall restrict any other right
available under existing law or otherwise available to a citizen
seeking redress for false, misleading, or deceptive advertisements.




6158.5.  This article applies to all lawyers, members, law
partnerships, law corporations, entities subject to regulation under
Section 6155, advertising collectives, cooperatives, or other
individuals, including nonlawyers, or groups advertising the
availability of legal services. Subdivisions (a) to (k), inclusive,
of Section 6158.4 do not apply to qualified legal services projects
as defined in Article 14 (commencing with Section 6210) and nonprofit
lawyer referral services certified under Section 6155. Sections 6157
to 6158.5, inclusive, do not apply to the media in which the
advertising is displayed or to an advertising agency that prepares
the contents of an advertisement and is not directly involved in the
formation or operation of lawyer advertising collectives or
cooperatives, referral services, or other groups existing primarily
for the purpose of advertising the availability of legal services or
making referrals to attorneys.


6158.7.  A violation of Section 6158, 6158.1, or 6158.3 by a member
shall be cause for discipline by the State Bar. In addition to the
existing grounds for initiating a disciplinary proceeding set forth
in a statute or in the Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar
may commence an investigation based upon a complaint filed by a
person pursuant to Section 6158.4. The State Bar's decision pursuant
to subdivision (a) of Section 6158.4 shall be admissible, but shall
not be determinative, in any disciplinary proceeding brought as a
result of that complaint.



6159.  The court shall report the name, address, and professional
license number of any person found in violation of this article to
the appropriate professional licensing agency for review and possible
disciplinary action.


6159.1.  A true and correct copy of any advertisement made by a
person or member shall be retained for one year by the person or
member who pays for an advertisement soliciting employment of legal
services.


6159.2.  (a) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to limit or
preclude enforcement of any other provision of law, or of any court
rule, or of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.
   (b) Nothing in this article shall limit the right of advertising
protected under the Constitution of the State of California or of the
United States. If any provision of this article is found to violate
either Constitution, that provision is severable and the remaining
provisions shall be enforceable without the severed provision.