Ethical Advertising and Marketing – Avoiding Solicitation and Improper Referral Issues
You may be starting a new law firm. Congratulations! Or you may have been practicing for many years and now want to expand your practice areas, rebrand or just make your potential client base more aware of the legal services you offer. No matter how far along you may be on your legal career path, attracting new clients and revenue is generally a key consideration. The number of lawyers in Florida is ever increasing and competition is fierce. But there are several ethical issues to consider before you embark on any marketing campaign.
Do you know the rules and regulations that govern advertising, marketing, solicitation and referrals? What content is permissible and which advertisements must be filed with the Ethics and Advertising Department of The Florida Bar for review prior to first use? How long must advertisements and information about how they were used be kept? What is targeted direct mail? Is a billboard a print ad? Is it permissible to pay nonlawyers for leads? What is a Qualifying Provider? Many law firms and even marketing professionals do not know the answers to these questions.
It may feel daunting to review Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-7.11 to 4-7.22, the Standing Committee on Advertising guidelines, Bar Staff Ethics Opinions, Standing Committee on Advertising Opinions and Board of Governors decisions on your own. We can help guide you through the process. We pre-review advertisements with a focus on content and filing compliance. We also offer representation in appeals of staff decisions to the Standing Committee on Advertising and Board of Governors.
- Print ads
- Direct mail and email communications
- TV and Radio advertisements
- Public service announcements
- Submissions for Bar review
- Filing exemptions; tombstone ads
- Internet ads
- Banner ads
- Social Media
- Video sharing sites
- Responding to online reviews
- Location of practice – Bona Fide Offices
- Participation with Qualifying Providers
- Gifts and payments for referrals
- Solicitation traps