The Collision of Legal Marketing and Legal Ethics: How Rules of Professional Conduct Apply in the Wo

Domain: Business of Law

No legal marketing can take place in any form until the marketer has a full understanding of the unique rules that govern lawyer advertising and communications. While lawyers have the protection of the First Amendment and can engage in “commercial speech,” there is a high degree of tension between legal marketing on the one hand, and bar regulators and courts on the other. Courts and bar associations often react to legal marketing, particularly the dreaded “legal advertising,” with an instinct of negativity, like fingernails scratching on a chalk board. The fallout for the marketing lawyers is often harsh and, in some cases, lawyers are disciplined by regulators because of the content of their marketing. A detailed knowledge of the rules of lawyer advertising and communication is critical to a marketing program that minimizes the risk of lawyers becoming the focus of a bar inquiry into their advertising.

Desa Ballard, Senior Partner, Ballard Watson Weissenstein

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