Marketing and Advertising

The first impression people have of you may be through your own marketing and advertising. The BC Code, Chapter 4 governs the marketing of legal services. The marketing and advertising rules have changed over the years and, while they are now less restrictive, they still define a framework with constraints that lawyers must operate within when marketing and advertising. The course does not discuss marketing issues in detail, but you should understand how these rules operate and ensure your marketing and advertising reflect current standards.

A good place for consultation is the Bencher's Bullletins, as there are frequently consideration of marketing issues published in the Bulletins. For example, the ethics committee considered the use of the term "Dr." for those who have a J.D. They decided the term "Dr." was misleading and contrary to the BC Code.  In the same issue of the Bulletin the ethics committee considered the issue of advertising in languages other than English, noting lawyer are responsible for any errors found in foreign language advertising, and for the failure to supervise such advertising. Similarly, the Bulletins provide additional information about communication with clients with diminished capacity. They are a good resource about particular issues any lawyer might need to consider.

Community Discussion

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Don't over promise in marketing; over deliver instead.

I agree one can only market skills and competencies that will make a meaningful contribution to a client's success.

Your ad should simply explain the services you offer, i.e., what area(s) of law you practice in and what your experience is. It should be informative without promising any result.

The worse publicity for the legal profession is caused by lawyers who defraud the public through theft of trust funds, or through negligent representation. The worse marketing is the use of the billable hour as a measure of all that a lawyer stands for.

Good and ethical marketing ensures that the legal profession is viewed better by the public.

If we deliver according to what we say is our strength and clearly acknowledge our limitations, our clients usually take upon themselves to be our referral sources because they are assured of our authenticity.

Advertise the services and where to find more information about your firm, such as your website.

It is highly recommended to have a website to advertise your services, but you should ensure that the layout is professional-looking, logical, and clean, with clear descriptions of the areas of law in which you offer services.  It is not helpful to have a website that does not offer any particular information beyond your name and office address, or if it appears to be using stock/generic language from a website generator.

I don't advertise, but if I did, I would limit the content to specialization and contact info.

Current advertising requirements are positive as it protects clients in our society who are the most vulnerable or have limited skills to interpret misleading advertising.  I think a lawyer's advertising should be focused simply on the legal services provided.  Advertising should be short, clear and not overly descriptive.