Advertising Rules Every Lawyer Should Know: The Do’s and Don'ts of Marketing Your Law Firm

Published on December 10, 2021
7 minute read
<a href=''>Sarah Bottorff</a>
Written by Sarah Bottorff

The only way to keep your law firm running is by bringing in new business consistently. That's why at the core of every successful law firm is a solid marketing strategy that has all the right components in place. In order to scale your law firm, you have to successfully target your ideal client, engage current clients, re-engage former clients, and stand out against the competition.

Yet, not every type of marketing flies when it comes to promoting your law firm. There are certain rules that need to be followed in order to avoid ethical concerns and any disciplinary consequences that come along with them. Failing to comply with advertising rules could lead to serious repercussions that you’re better off without.

For this reason, many law firms work with marketing agencies that have experience working with law firms, or who have had legal experience. Since they’re familiar with the ins and outs of advertising legal services, law firms don’t have to worry about their marketing methods violating rules.

Knowing what not to do when advertising your law firm

In order to successfully advertise and scale your law firm, it's a good idea to stay familiar with the rules that apply to you. That way you can successfully reach your target audience, and bring in more business, all while respecting advertising laws. Regardless of what kind of advertising channels you're planning on using, the same rules apply. Here are the most important advertising rules that you should know when marketing your law firm.

! Don’t make false claims

It goes without saying that making any false claims is dishonest. Lying isn’t an admirable quality in any business, and law is certainly no exception. Under no circumstances should you make a claim that is misleading, could be considered dishonest or stretching the truth.

That means avoiding making any bold statements that could be deceiving, like guaranteeing you’ll win your client's cases. The same goes for making superlative claims like you’re “the best lawyer.” Simply put, don’t make any promises that you can’t keep.

Instead, stick to the facts that no one can dispute. Claiming you’re the best lawyer in the world could be considered unsubstantiated and unverifiable. However, no one can deny that you have won a certain number of cases if you can back the claim up. When in doubt, always double-check any statements and make sure you can prove them.

! Don’t set unrealistic expectations

On your testimonials page, you may likely have bold statements from prior clients making claims like “My lawyer won my case and made me richer than I ever dreamed of!” which is entirely possible, however, it doesn’t guarantee that every client will have the same outcome working with you.

Be careful of creating expectations that would lead a client to believe that their situation will turn out identical. Although you may have gotten one client a considerable amount of money for their claim, it’s dishonest to claim you can do the same for every client.

There’s a reason that at the end of many commercials a voice can be heard saying “results may vary.” Keep your promises in check!

! Don’t say you’re a specialist or expert

Certain states have rules about presenting yourself as an expert or specialist. As such, you should avoid either one of these terms. The ABA clearly states that “a lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law” unless they are officially certified and deemed specialist by an approved organization that is approved by the state or is accredited by the American Bar Association.

Substantiating your expertise in law with the number of years you’ve been an attorney isn’t enough either. You must be able to demonstrate that you are officially an expert with certification and proof. Otherwise, you’re better off steering clear of calling yourself an expert or specialist.

! Don’t solicit your legal services directly

The American Board Association approves of traditional advertisements like billboards, search engine optimization, pay per click, and social media advertising. However, soliciting your services by targeting an individual directly is prohibited.

In other words, targeting someone one-on-one may be viewed as soliciting your services for your own financial gain and not for the client’s best interest.

Tips for successfully advertising your law firm

1 Do build the right website for your law firm

One of the most straightforward and effective ways to advertise your law firm is to build the right website for it. Having an online presence is a must for a lawyer, so the first place to start building your digital presence is by creating a strong website.

Not only should you have a website, but you should make sure that it ticks all the right boxes. A great law firm website does the following:

Establishes credibility

Having a website serves as proof that you're a legitimate business. In today's digital age, Googling a lawyer's name and finding they don't have a website could be considered suspicious. Your web page is your digital business card. It’s a way to showcase your skills and offer testimonials that serve as social proof for your services. First impressions are everything when it comes to a website, so if you can present a professional and well constructed page, people will be that much more likely to hire you.

Generates leads

You likely have many different marketing methods in your marketing strategy. However, the cornerstone of it all should be your website. If you manage to optimize your website, then Google will start to favor it. As a result, your law firm will come up first in search results, generating more traffic, and in turn leads.

Increases your online visibility

The more visible you can make your website, the more leads you'll attract. Ultimately, Google is one of the biggest determining factors in your law firm's success. The more visible you are, the more you can target your ideal clients.

Offers valuable information

You can have the most professional-looking website in the world, but, if it doesn't have the information that people are there for, then you might as well not have a website at all. Your website should clearly display what kind of law you practice, and where you're located.

You can also offer valuable information by adding a blog to your website. One of the best ways to bring people to your page is by offering relevant and free legal advice.

Saves you time

A fully functional website can save you a considerable amount of time. Offering your clients the ability to self-schedule using automated appointment scheduling software means that you no longer have to waste time on lengthy email back-and-forths. Clients can simply fill out a legal client intake form that goes directly into your law firm CRM, eliminating the need to manually input information. Above all, it's much more efficient. The minute a lead fills out their information, your CRM and legal client intake software like Lawmatics will meticulously track them. That way, you don't have to worry about who's been followed up with or what actions need to be taken next. Your software follows up for you, ensuring that no opportunity gets missed.

2 Do set up a Google Business Page

Online reviews are a critical part of building a digital presence for your law firm. It's critical that you set up a Google business profile where leads can read former client reviews, find out where you're located, and get your contact information. While there are many different review sites available to lawyers, Google is considered the most important, since it's what shows up first on search results.

Don't be afraid to ask your former clients to leave you a review on Google. The more reviews you start generating, and the more you respond to, the more you’ll improve your ranking since Google favors active profiles.

3 Do create a social media profile

Nowadays, clients want to connect with their favorite brands, and their lawyers are no exception. Creating a social media profile for your law firm is a great way to build a connection with your clients, and increase brand awareness. If you can manage to create useful and shareable content, you'll build a following for yourself on social media, which will generate more leads. The best part is, social media is entirely free to start a profile on, which can be especially appealing for smaller firms with tighter advertising budgets.

4 Do create a blog

Starting a blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your area of practice without outright calling yourself an expert. Starting a blog is a great way to add more content to your website, which will, in turn, boost your rankings on Google. Something as simple as a weekly blog post that offers a legal tidbit is a great way to get more visitors to your website. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the right SEO keywords and make sure they are there throughout, improving your organic search results.

5 Do use calls to action

Advertising is much more powerful and effective if you always include a call to action. Everything from your website to your marketing emails should encourage the reader to take further steps towards becoming a client. A call to action usually comes in the form of a phrase with a hyperlink.

Some ideas of CTA's for your law firm could be:

  • Download an ebook
  • Sign up for a Free Consultation
  • Subscribe to Our Newsletter

The idea is to encourage a lead to take action before letting them click away.

6Do measure your results

In order to ensure you get the maximum return on your marketing investments, you have to measure your results. Using legal reporting software will help you identify what marketing channels are working and what aren't. Custom reporting allows you to assess your marketing campaigns, and identify room for improvement by keeping a close eye on your most important marketing metrics.

Although data and analytics may seem out of context in the legal world, it can be one of your most valuable tools for standing out against the competition. Your law firm should be tracking important metrics such as:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Visit to Lead Ratio
  • SEO Keyword Ranking
  • Conversions by Source
  • Email Click Rate
  • Backlinks
  • Newsletter Growth

Knowing how well your marketing is performing will help you determine whether you should continue in the direction you're going, or make changes.

7Do keep your leads engaged

The most successful law firms rely on marketing automation for law firms to keep their leads engaged. Attorney intake software streamlines your marketing emails, targeting specific audiences based on characteristics of your choosing. Tools like audience segmentation software allow you to customize what emails go out to who, based on certain triggers. For example, if someone signs up for your newsletter, they'll receive a specific follow-up, while someone who downloads an ebook will receive a different message. Automated personalized messaging makes your law firm memorable, and keeps your leads engaged which ultimately breeds brand loyalty.

Attract new clients and engage your former ones with Lawmatics

Advertising your law firm is a critical part of expanding your law firm and acquiring new clients. However, In addition to the legal market being competitive, it can also be risky if you don't know the advertising fundamentals. Understanding the most important advertising rules will help you maximize your marketing efforts and build a solid long-term marketing strategy for your law firm without problems.

Having a clear understanding of the most relevant issues that may come up will help you build brand awareness without any ethical issues.

Advertising your law firm starts with embracing legal technology. Trying to manually advertise your firm can be time-consuming, and full of potential errors. By automating your law firm marketing efforts, you can stay focused on what matters most at your law firm, while automation handles the rest.

Are you ready to see how an all-in-one legal intake solution, marketing automation and law firm CRM software like Lawmatics can help increase your outreach and win more clients? Sign up for a free demo today!

Sarah Bottorff

Sarah is the Head of Growth at Lawmatics, the #1 attorney-client relationship management platform that provides law firms with client intake, CRM, and marketing automation. She has over 18 years of marketing and sales experience and has a proven track record of building brands and driving growth at companies like MyCase, Smokeball, CJ Affiliate, Johnson & Johnson, and FastSpring.
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