Is your lawyer advertising falling flat, and you want to see better results? Perhaps you want to know how to start a law firm with clients already beating down your door.

Whatever your reason for investing time and money into advertising your firm, getting to know the best practice guidelines is the first step to creating ads that work. Of course, you also want to avoid getting penalized by your state or federal bar association for misleading or dishonest ads.

We’ve got you covered! Read on for how to keep your law firm advertising strategies above board.

Know the Bar Rules

Whether you’re running law firm PPC advertising or working on your lawyer SEO, you must understand the rules around lawyer advertising. There are federal regulations and different rules depending on the state you’re in.

At least one lead attorney in your practice needs to be familiar with the local and national ethics and check over every piece of advertising communication before it leaves the office.

This includes:

  • Your website
  • Print and online advertising
  • Written referrals
  • Articles about your practice

Rules are outlined in the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Sections 7.1 and 7.2). In addition, check your state bar to see if they have advertising best practice guidelines.

Use Testimonials, but Carefully

According to a 2012 Neilsen survey, over 90 percent of people trust a recommendation from someone close to them, and, more surprisingly, 70 percent trust testimonials from a complete stranger.

So, including feedback from happy clients sounds like a great idea, right? Well, when it comes to law firm advertising, things get a bit tricky.

First, you shouldn’t compensate anyone for providing you with a testimonial: the client needs to give you the recommendation of their own accord.

Check carefully, too, that the testimonial isn’t taken out of context in any way, especially in a way that could be misleading. The State Bar of California, for example, prohibits lawyers from using testimonials in a way that leads clients to believe they’d get the same result.

What Can and Can’t I Include in a Law Ad?

If there’s one thing that’s certain about law firm marketing, it’s that there’s a ton of best practice guidelines and outright rules to wade through. As a result, it can be hard to know what to include in your advertising materials.

Do include:

  • Memberships: bar associations and other professional memberships
  • Accolades: awards, publications, and honors
  • Costs: hourly or bulk costs to the client
  • Identifying information: law firm name, names of lawyers, location

Don’t include:

  • Sample or fake legal documents
  • Fake lawyers or firm names
  • Information about pending cases

The list of how and where lawyers can advertise changes between states and across the years. It’s essential to regularly review the marketing guidelines of local and federal bar associations, the platforms you want to advertise on, be it Facebook or a local lifestyle magazine, and general advertising rules from government bodies like the Federal Trade Commission.

Lawyer Advertising That Won’t Get You in Trouble

If you’ve been afraid to tackle lawyer advertising up to now, just know that it’s more than possible to market your services. You just need to ensure each piece of marketing material is carefully checked against bar association best practices.

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