Posted by Jay Kamlet on May 22, 2014
A quick guide to what you can and can’t say when marketing your solo law practice
Starting a solo law firm means that you are running a business and, like all businesses, some marketing is necessary for finding new clients and work. In the legal profession, however, there are some specific ethics rules businesses must follow. In short, any marketing of your law firm must include factual information that does not mislead the public. Here is a quick primer on ethics in legal marketing:
What you can say
- Do share specific, substantiated details about your experience, including the legal fields you cover, how many cases you have tried, your past legal work experience, your degrees, etc.
- Do say you “focus on” or “work in” a certain legal specialty (i.e. “I am a lawyer in the personal injury field”).
- Do share useful, factual information about topics of interest to clients.
- Do share your contact information and website so prospective clients have a way to reach you.
What you can’t say
- Don’t say you are an “expert in” or “specialize in” a certain legal field, unless you have received an official certification as a specialist in that field. If you have received certification, the certifying agency must be listed in your communication and, in Colorado, you must include this disclaimer: “Colorado does not certify lawyers as specialists in any field.”
- Don’t include statements that imply a promise about future outcomes or results.
- Don’t include any unsubstantiated claims in your firm name or marketing taglines, such as “Colorado’s Greatest Lawyer.” This rule applies to website URLs as well.
- Don’t make any direct comparisons between your firm and another firm (or other firms in general), unless those claims can be substantiated.
- Don’t share specifics of a client’s case without the client’s consent. The client has a right to confidentiality, and you need to consider that before blogging or tweeting.
Using content marketing ethically
- Use your website, blog and social media channels to share information with clients, but let them come to you. Don’t directly solicit clients through social media.
- Share information and convey a level of expertise without claiming to be an “expert” in that subject or field.
For more information about Colorado’s code of ethics for lawyers, visit www.cobar.org/page.cfm/ID/20518/. For more information about LawBank’s shared office and co-working space, visit www.law-bank.com.