A law firm’s marketing strategy is an asset — except when it isn’t. Violating state bar ethics guidelines may force you to throw out hours of marketing planning and execution, resulting in a waste of attorney and staff time as well as dollars spent on outside vendors. And your firm still needs to market itself, which means you’ll have to come up with a new marketing strategy, one that complies with jurisdictional law firm advertising and marketing guidelines.

To complicate matters, bar association professional rules of conduct vary from state to state. While your marketing efforts might comply with one jurisdiction’s rules, you could still be in violation.

Here are some tips to help you better understand and comply with state bar ethics guidelines. 

  • Research: Check each state’s specific guidelines for law firm advertising (print and digital), website compliance, social media, newsletters and white papers. You’ll want to review the various bar associations’ written guidelines and published opinions.
  • Create your own guide: Analyze each state’s guidelines and develop a detailed document to be used as a guide, presented in a format that is easy to share throughout the firm. Write the guide in straightforward language, not legalese, making it easy to follow and understand.
  • Stay up to date: Bar rules change periodically. This is especially true as the various bar organizations begin to address how newer technologies might be reshaping the practice of legal marketing.

How can Jaffe help you comply with bar ethics rules?

Jaffe has helped law firms develop comprehensive marketing and public relations strategies for more than four decades. We routinely track changes to the various state bar ethics guidelines and can provide advice about how to incorporate ethics best practices into your own law firm marketing tactics. We also can audit legal marketing materials to assess for ethical compliance and provide onsite training to lawyers and marketers to help them understand the intersection of ethical obligations and marketing technology, such as the use of social media.

Want more information about bar ethics rules? Contact Terry M. Isner at tmisner@jaffepr.com