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Lawyer Advertising Rules Attorneys Need to Know

17 min


Nov 30, 2023

Law firm advertising is a crusial ways for attorneys to reach new people online and grow their practice. Ads can provide potential clients with information about a lawyer's services and help to create brand recognition. Around 40% of people start their search online so your ads need to be top-notch.

However, they also need to adhere to a few crucial lawyers advertising rules! Because otherwise attorneys might be suspended or even disbarred for failing to follow these guidelines. In this blog we will discuss what advertising rules every attorney need to know, explore key benefits of lawyer advertising and take a look at the best law firm ads examples!

Attorney Advertising Rules and Regulations You Need to Know

A quick glance at the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct and you might think that the laws surrounding attorney advertisements are minimal and straightforward. At a closer look, lawyers must navigate different state rules of professional responsibility, bar association advisory opinions, and even rulings from the Federal Trade Commission.

We've outlined some tips to help align your marketing strategy with the rules of the American Bar Association.

1. Don't Use the Term ‘Expert’ When Advertising

Even if you're proud of your law firm's success, it's typically against the rules to claim that you are an ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’ unless you have the formal certifications to back it up. This is first and one of the basic lawyer advertising rules! Rule 7.2 in the American Bar Association notes that lawyers shouldn't imply that they specialize in a practice area unless they've been certified by an ABA-accredited organization authorized by their state, district, or U.S. territory.

A legal specialist in California, for instance, must have practiced law continuously for a set number of years, with a specific portion of that time dedicated to practicing that specialty. Make sure you check any web page with "expert" or similar language to make sure you're not violating any rules.

Advertising your law firm

2. Avoid Making False or Misleading Statements

There are also specific rules regarding what you can and cannot say in your advertising. Any language that is misleading or untrue could result in a frustrating violation. While this is a fairly understood rule across law firms, here are some things that aren't allowed in most states:

  • Create advertisements for practice areas that you don't handle
  • Guarantee or imply success to potential clients you take on
  • Insinuate that you have a special connection to a judge or other attorneys that can help your client
  • Publish blanket and non-verifiable statements such as you are ‘the most respect law firm in Chicago, Illinois’
  • Make unverified comparisons between your law firms and your competitors
Avoid making confusing or misleading statements

Always strive to make your legal statements as honest and accurate as possible. Show your clients how amazing you are through client success stories and testimonials.

3. Only Provide Testimonials at the Client’s Permission

When executed correctly, client reviews and testimonials are one of the most effective ways your law firm can build social proof and trust. However, today, most state bars allow them with some limitations.

client's testimonials example
  • If the individual giving the testimonial isn't a lawyer, they are not considered qualified to comment on your legal skills. They can, however, talk about whether or not they were satisfied with your services or mention their client experience. 
  • Lawyers are not allowed to write, draft, or edit client testimonials. It's also frowned upon to offer a template when asking for reviews.
  • All published testimonials must include a disclaimer indicating that past results do not guarantee future success.
  • It's not allowed to offer anything of value in exchange for a client testimonial.

4. Keep Away From Direct Solicitation of Legal Services

The ABA Rule 7.3 focuses on the attorney solicitation of clients. A lawyer cannot seek professional employment through live, one-on-one communication if the lawyer or law firm has a major financial interest. The situation changes if the contact is with a lawyer or someone with a familial, close personal, or former business or professional relationship with the lawyer or law firm. 

However, if the person falls into the second group but has expressed a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer or the situation involves coercion, duress, or harassment, the prohibitill remains. The rule does not prohibit communications required by law or that are mandated by a tribunal or court.

5. Keep Ad Copies if Necessary

Before you jump from one advertising campaign to another, make sure to research whether or not you'll need to keep copies. Depending on your jurisdiction, you might need to keep physical, digital, or both copies of your advertisements for a particular time. 

When it comes to law firm websites, many jurisdictions also require that the site content, including major redesigns or content changes, are preserved at least once every three months. Keeping copies of everything in today's digital age is always a good idea.

6. Use Disclaimers When Inviting Actors or Spokespersons to Advertise

law firm advertising restrictions

Many states have lawyer advertising rules requiring clear disclaimers when using non-attorney actors or spokespersons, while others prohibit this approach entirely. 

You can submit your television or radio ads to your state bar association when in doubt. They will either provide you with approval or deny your ad.

7. Know Whether You Need to Include Your Address

The inclusion of your office address is a foundational consideration. The crux lies in comprehending the necessity of featuring this information, a requirement that fluctuates across jurisdictions. It's not merely a logistical detail; it's a demonstration of transparency and compliance with legal standards.

This vital detail provides potential clients with a roadmap to your firm, fostering trust and accessibility. Understanding when and where to display your physical office address is not just a matter of regulatory adherence but a strategic move to ensure your law firm is easily locatable, setting the stage for establishing a credible and approachable presence in the legal arena.

8. Know if You can Use Your Trade Name

The use of trade names in legal advertising necessitates a delicate dance, influenced by the diverse regulations prevailing in different jurisdictions. This requires an in-depth exploration to determine whether your creative trade name can take center stage in your promotional materials.

While some jurisdictions embrace the use of distinctive trade names as a means of brand identity, others impose stringent restrictions. This exploration is not just a legal mandate but a strategic endeavor to carve out a unique identity while navigating the bounds of compliance. Balancing creativity and adherence to regulatory frameworks ensures that your law firm's trade name becomes a powerful brand asset, fostering recognition without compromising professional integrity.

9. Don't Bring Up Your Competition Directly

Lawyer advertising rules draw a distinct line when it comes to directly referencing competitors. This guideline demands careful consideration to avoid ethical and legal pitfalls. While acknowledging the competitive landscape is crucial, overtly mentioning other law firms can lead to a breach of professional conduct.

The rule is not merely about compliance; it's about engaging in fair competition.

By steering clear of direct references to competitors, your law firm can project its strengths and unique selling points without compromising the ethical standards that underpin the legal profession. Navigating this rule ensures that your marketing endeavors contribute to a robust, competitive presence while adhering to the highest standards of professional ethics and legal regulations.

Key Benefits of Lawyer Advertising

Key benefits of lawyer advertising
  1. Advertising your firm gives you exposure by putting you in front of potential clients who may not have heard of your practice before but need your services, reaching new audiences and increasing traffic. 
  2. Advertising your services can help existing clients find you when they need legal advice or help with a legal issue. This allows you to capitalize on current relationships and turn them into repeat customers, thereby increasing quality leads. 
  3. Advertising also provides an opportunity to increase revenue and ROI. As Henry Ford famously said, ‘stopping advertising from saving money is like stopping your watch from saving time.’ So, once you stop advertising, the profit stops, the leads stop coming in, and the exposure decreases.
  4. Lawyer advertising makes it easy to track and measure results, using modern analytics tools to measure website traffic and conversions. This helps you decide where and how to invest your resources for maximum effectiveness.

Best Lawyer Advertising Examples for 2024

As the legal industry continues to evolve, so must the way law firms advertise themselves. What worked in the past may not be as effective in the future, so it's important to stay ahead of the curve. This section will focus on a few law firm advertising ideas for this year. 

Attorney Pay-Per-Click Advertising

PPC for lawyers is an online marketing model in which advertisers pay when users click on their advertisement. Attorneys can set an advertising budget for how much they want to spend on each click. PPC campaigns have two components: the search engine advertising platform and the ads.

On the search engine side, law firms can create ads (like Google Ads) that show up in response to certain keywords typed into search engines such as Google or Bing. These ads are then displayed on various websites and apps based on the keywords used. On the ad side, law firms craft compelling copy with an enticing call to action to get users to click through and visit their website or contact page. 

Attorney pay-per-click advertising

PPC advertising for law firms includes the following components: keyword selection, ad copywriting, bid amount set, campaign management, tracking, and reporting. 

  1. Keywords are the words or phrases a potential customer would use to search for an attorney’s services. Lawyers should research keywords and incorporate them into their ads. 
  2. Copywriting for lawyer ads involves crafting a compelling message that will draw users to the advertisement. 
  3. Bid amount setting determines how much an advertiser is willing to pay per click. Adjust bids based on market conditions. 
  4. Campaign management involves optimizing the campaign to reach its desired marketing goals.
  5. Tracking and reporting involve analyzing the campaign results and making necessary changes to reach more prospective clients.
  6. Use CTAs that make clients take actions like ‘Click for Free Consultation.’
Learn more about Google Ads for Lawyers

Social Media Ads for Law Firms

With over 4.7 billion active users spread across platforms like Facebook and Twitter, firms can use social media to target specific demographics and interests. Additionally, social media advertising is relatively affordable and can be highly effective when done correctly.

Learn more about Social Media for Lawyers

1. Facebook Ads

With almost 3 billion active users, Facebook is usually the first platform marketers think of to run social media ads, target clients, generate new leads, and spread brand awareness. Ads appear on the news feeds of target demographics looking for legal services. 

Facebook ads

Facebook charges marketers using two metrics: cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (CPM), also referred to as cost per 1,000 impressions. So, legal advertisers should be prepared to pay around $0.94 per click or $12.07 for every 1,000 impressions. 

When creating Facebook ads for law firms, targeting a specific audience and using relevant images and text to capture their attention is important. Ads should include a call to action, such as a link to the website or contact form. 

2. LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is one of the best lawyer advertising platforms for law firms. Although the price of LinkedIn advertising varies depending on the advertiser, LinkedIn requires that businesses bid a minimum of $2 for cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM) campaigns. However, businesses typically spend $5.26 for each click and $6.59 for every 1000 impressions.

LinkedIn Ads for lawyers

You should create content relevant to lawyers, such as case studies, white papers, and webinars. Ads should be tailored to highlight the firm’s expertise. Use LinkedIn’s sponsored content feature to create ads that look like regular posts that reach beyond your followers.

Learn more about LinkedIn for Lawyers

3. Twitter Ads 

Users are presented with Twitter ads through bidding. You are responsible for setting the price you pay for each billable action. The average cost range varies depending on the type of Twitter ad. On Twitter, sponsored online advertising typically costs between $0.25 and $2 per action, while Twitter follower advertising typically costs between $2 and $4 per follow.

Twitter Ads for lawyers

Lawyers can use Twitter ads to promote deals and discounts, highlight success stories, and post updates about industry news. Creating engaging ads that encourage user engagement and shares is also important. Since the characters are limited (280), create precise, attention-grabbing tweets to draw in readers and use hashtags and retweets strategically to increase visibility.

Learn more about Twitter for Lawyers

4. Instagram Ads

Instagram offers businesses the option to display advertising at an average cost of $0.20 to $2.00 per click. Like organic material from other Instagram accounts, these advertisements appear in users' feeds, Stories, and explore pages.

Ads should include relevant images and captions that reflect the firm’s brand and focus on connecting with users personally. It’s also important to have a clear call to action in all Instagram ads and to use hashtags to reach a wider audience.

Instagram Ads for lawyers

When it comes to choosing which social media platforms to advertise on, it is important to consider: 

  • Your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your advertising? Make sure to choose a platform that is popular with your target market. For lawyer advertising examples, if you are trying to reach millennials, you may want to consider advertising on Instagram. If you are trying to reach an older audience, Facebook or Twitter may be a better option. 
  • The type of content you want to share. Different platforms are better suited for different types of content. For lawyer advertising examples, suppose you want to share long-form content, such as blog posts or whitepapers. In that case, LinkedIn may be a better option than Twitter.
  • Your advertising budget. Some platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, offer paid advertising options that allow you to target your ads to a specific audience. Other platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, are cheap but have more limited advertising options. 
Learn more about Instagram for Lawyers

Legal Directory Law Firm Advertising

Directories for lawyers

Legal directory advertising for law firms is another effective way to promote your law firm. There are a variety of platforms that you can use to advertise, each providing unique benefits and cheap ads. 

Learn More About Lawyer Directories
  • Avvo is a directory of lawyers with client ratings and reviews. With its extensive database of attorneys in different practice areas and geographic locations, Avvo for lawyers makes it easy for potential clients to connect with you and get your firm's name out there. 
Avvo for lawyers
  • Yelp is not industry-specific but includes many business profiles, allowing clients to review law firms. It allows firms to list their information and contact details and write reviews and testimonials from past clients. Yelp for lawyers provides a great way for potential clients to learn more about a firm and decide if it fits their needs. 
Yelp for lawyers
  • Google My Business allows businesses to share their location and contact information and communicate directly with customers. This directory enables firms to create a free listing that includes their contact information, website, and opening hours. What's more, law firms can add images and videos to their listing, making it more engaging for potential clients. Best of all, Google My Business for lawyers is free to use, making it a great option for firms on a tight budget.
Google My Business for lawyers
  • Bing Places is a map-based directory that law firms can use for advertising. It can be useful for search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Law firms can improve their visibility and attract more clients by optimizing websites and listings for Bing Places. Additionally, Bing Places for lawyers offers several features that can be useful for law firm advertising, such as the ability to include photos, videos, and most importantly, deals and discounts.
Bing places for lawyers
  • Apple Maps is another map-based directory that allows clients on iOS devices to find law firms in their area. By including their contact information and website on their listing, potential clients can easily find and contact the firm since Apple Maps provides directions and contact information for the law firm.
Apple Maps for lawyers
  • We already mentioned Facebook as an ad center for law firms, but it can also serve as a legal directory for clients to find you through your listing and contact information.
Facebook for lawyers
  • YP.com is an online directory that provides listings for businesses in various categories, including law firms. YP.com can create a free and detailed listing with information about the firm's practice areas, opening and closing hours, and contact information. Law firms can use YP.com to target potential clients in their local area. 
YP.com for lawyers
  • Justia is a website dedicated to legal professionals and provides resources such as case law, blogs, and forums. Justia for lawyers is the comprehensive legal resource center that offers free and paid listings for attorneys across the USA. 
Justia for lawyers
  • State and local bars have their own websites and directories for lawyers. These directories list all attorneys in a particular state or locality and provide contact information and practice areas.
  • Guest blogging on other sites related to the law can help increase visibility for your firm and build backlinks. By writing articles that provide valuable insights and perspectives on the latest legal trends, you can establish your firm as a go-to source for information and advice.

How To improve Your Attorney Advertising Efforts

Digital marketing advertising for attorneys targets potential clients through online channels, and attorneys reach a larger audience than you would through traditional advertising. 

When using digital marketing strategies to reach potential clients, it is important to showcase an attorney's experience and expertise in solving specific legal problems and use tools that put you out there. 

SEO and Local SEO as a Part of Your Law Firm Advertising

Law firm SEO is optimizing your website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google, making it easier to under and index your ad content. Local SEO is a subset of SEO focused on optimizing a law firm's website for a specific geographic area, such as a city or state. This helps to ensure that potential clients nearby can easily find the law firm's website during their online search. 

Make sure your law firm website is mobile-friendly

Here are some tips for lawyers to help optimize their websites for SEO and local SEO: 

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. As many people use their phones to search for legal services, an ad optimized for mobile devices will help your law firm appear in search results. 
  • Ensure your law firm ads have relevant keywords related to your practice areas. Optimize your ad content by incorporating those keywords into headlines, CTAs, and bodies. Use tools like Semrush, Ahref, and Google Keyword Planner to research keywords.
Ensure your law firm ads have relevant keywords related to your practice areas

  • Most internet users have a short attention span, so it's important to keep your advertising as close to the home page as possible. They may never be seen if buried too deep on your site. Ideally, you want your ads to be no more than three clicks away from the home page. They may never be seen if buried too deep on your site.

Website That Supports Your Lawyer Advertising Campaign

Your law firm website is the face of your law firm since the information about your services and others is there, so you need to make sure it supports ad content. You can use your website to provide information about your campaign, and you can also use it to drive traffic to your campaign landing page. Once clients land on your site, they should be able to quickly and easily find the information they need.

Use eye-catching visuals

Here are some tips to optimize your website for digital advertising campaigns: 

  • Ensure that your website loads quickly. A slow website will likely lose them before they even see your ad since many clients might not if the website takes too long to load. 
  • When visitors click on one of your ads, you don't want to bombard them with pop-ups. This will irritate them, and they'll be less likely to take action or continue with the page. Instead, try to keep the pop-ups to a minimum. Only use them if they're essential.
  • Use eye-catching visuals. Using images, graphics, animations, and videos can effectively convey your ad message and engage viewers.
CTA example
  • Include an effective call-to-action (CTA) on your website page to encourage visitors to take action. Ensure that your website also includes contact information for potential clients, such as your law firm’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).
  • Test different ads and analyze the data to determine which lawyer advertising campaign is most effective for your website.

Podcasts to Advertise Your Legal Service

Attorney podcasts are an increasingly popular form of media and a great way to advertise your legal service. Podcasts allow you to reach a wide audience, as they are easily accessible on computers, tablets, and phones. You can use podcasts to educate potential clients about the legal process, provide tips for dealing with various legal issues, promote special offers or discounts, and even interview industry experts to help people make informed decisions. You can even invite listeners to call in with their legal questions.

Grow Law Firm podcast

One such podcast you should consider tuning in to is the one featuring Janet Falk, a public relations expert, who shares insights on how to get more cases using public relations for lawyers.


Email Marketing as a Long-Term Advertising Strategy

Email marketing lets you connect with existing clients and target potential customers with tailored ad messages. Here are some tips for lawyers looking to use email marketing to boost their legal directory law firm advertising: 

  1. Develop an engaging subject line to capture readers’ attention. 
  2. Keep your emails concise and informative.
  3. Personalize emails to create a connection with potential clients. 
  4. Offer incentives such as discounts or free consultations to entice people to contact you. 
  5. Include a call-to-action at the end of your emails. 
  6. Include a working link to your ad page so readers can take action.
Read our blog post on the email marketing for lawyers to promote your practice!

Incorporate Advertising in Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Advertising has long been a way to reach potential customers and build brand recognition. For law firms, advertising can help attract new clients, establish trust, and create a positive image. To incorporate advertising into your legal marketing plan, there are several steps you can take.

  1. Before you begin the process of advertising, it is important to understand who your target audience is. Identify the types of people you want to reach with your legal services and tailor your message accordingly. 
  2. Research other law firms in your area to determine what types of advertising they are using and how successful it is.
  3. Set aside a portion of your annual budget for advertising; this amount might be distributed throughout the year or used during particular seasons.
  4. Set an achievable business goal that aligns with your KPI is another action taken. Your marketing goals should be to increase clients and revenue from your advertisements. 
  5. Decide which platforms will best reach them based on the first 4—audience, competition, budget, and goal print advertising
  6. The most important step is to track, track, track! Measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Platforms such as Google and Facebook Ads feature reporting directly on their dashboards, allowing you to see your performance in real time. You can also track your law practice's performance using external analytic tools.

Grow Law Firm Can Help You Navigate Law Firm Advertising

As you can tell, lawyer advertising can be tricky, with many platforms to choose from and strategies to push your ads to the right audience. This guide has broken them down, but it can also take time to implement them, especially if you need to focus on other matters. If so, partner with a professional law firm SEO agency like Grow Law Firm. 

Our team has extensive experience helping big and small law firms navigate the complex landscape of legal advertising. We provide tailored solutions that reflect your unique needs, from content creation to online presence management. Above all, we help you attract new customers and grow your law firm. 

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