The Do’s and Don’ts Every Attorney Needs to Know and Follow for State Bar Compliance in Online Marketing
Whether you hire a professional digital marketer or take on online marketing yourself, we strongly recommend complying with rules set by your state’s bar association. Attorneys who serve as overseers in digital marketing should comply with the bar associations and understand what it entails. In essence, they should keep updating their current directives. This keeps you from unnecessary bar penalties like disbarment or bar sanctions.
For your sake, it’s hard to know what exactly the state bar law entails concerning online marketing. That’s why the best law firm marketing company has compiled the dos and don’ts every attorney must observe to ensure your business succeeds.
Don’t Use Forbidden Words.
As per most bar associations, attorneys should not use false and misleading information on their websites. If an attorney publishes a word like ‘expert’ or ‘specialized’ on their website, they violate the state’s bar regulations. Their material misstatement is also under scrutiny by the bar association. For this reason, an attorney should be on alert when they spot ‘expert’ or ‘specialized’ on their online platforms. Here are further details on such words:
The word expert has a similar effect as the word specialist—both are forbidden words. Unless you are accredited as a specialist by the American States Bar or by an organization approved by the state bar in your country, you are restricted from words like ‘expert’ / ‘specialist.’ In essence, you can use them when describing your expertise or services.
A guaranteed or a promised result is hard to fulfill—even by the best lawyer. If an attorney uses search words, they violate the code of conduct, subjecting their clients to unjustified expectations. They must first ensure that whatever they are promising or guaranteeing is 100% controllable to use such words. An example of a controllable situation is when they agree to refund your fees if they fail to honor their promise or guarantee.
If ‘results’ is used in a manner that doesn’t promise a specific outcome (mostly when combined with slogans like ‘dedication,’ ‘experience’), then the usage is approvable. But phrases like ‘We strive to obtain solutions for your injuries’ or ‘our companies guarantee results’ are misappropriated. You are forbidden from addressing the results you can bring to your clients. Instead, talk about past results your company has achieved for former clients—supposedly, they should be accurate.
The words’ get’ and ‘obtain’ seem harmless but can get lawyers in a bad situation. They promise unjustified results when used alongside words like ‘results.’ An example is, ‘we’ll get results.’
States bar outlines provisions regulating and governing marketing and advertisements by attorneys and law firms. In most states, attorney website advertisements are subject to regulation. While marketing companies and web designs are yet to understand bar rules, attorneys must be informed and keep their website compliant.
When managing their website, attorneys must highlight every word published attentively and interview their online marketing providers carefully before choosing. On your part, you can avoid such problems by hiring an entity that honors bar rules in your country.
Avoid Misleading Statements
Things that get violated by most attorneys are fees explanation, expertise and ability descriptions, and past results testimonials. We’ve mentioned before that a false description incorporates words like ‘expert’ and ‘results,’ creating hyperbolic statements and misleading descriptions. Also, if a statement includes a word like ‘best’ or ‘cheapest’ or ‘better,’ it misleads the target, therefore categorized under forbidden statements.
In several states, statements describing client testimonials, lawyers’ experience, previous case results, and endorsement are often put under misleading and false statements. To stay away from misleading statements, always state the truth in your descriptions. Avoid publishing non-factual information on your social media platforms and your websites. But importantly, check your stats bar regulations.
Assume Responsibility for Your Online Advertisements
Generally, publications on your online platforms must include a name or address of an attorney responsible for the online advertising strategy. But this requirement varies depending on your state policy. Some states may neglect this area, while others may give online marketers strong directives to include the lawyer responsible for the content.
Often, this name is needed on the website’s homepage or the initial access page. But for better results, lawyers can provide their names on the entire pages of the website. This random listing is often good for search engine optimization (SEO). Other details your website may include are the attorney’s firm, address, and contact information.