Legal marketing strategies are the keys to reaching your target audience. Yet, marketing can be a full-time job. This leads many lawyers to hire someone to work in-house or to partner with an agency that specializes in creating legal marketing strategies. Yet, hiring or outsourcing doesn’t absolve you from whatever happens as a result of the chosen strategies. Just like any other part of your practice that you entrust to another person, ultimately you carry the legal and ethical responsibility.
This post is comprised of four very important points to remember when you plan to hire someone to manage your legal marketing strategies as they relate to legal ethics.
Your Legal Marketing Strategies May Not Mislead the Public
Every jurisdiction has rules that cover how lawyers may advertise their services. You should familiarize yourself with the rules in your jurisdiction (and make sure that the person or agency you hire also knows the rules). The general principle is found in Model Rule 7.1. It reads “A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.”
So, any articles, blog posts, ads, radio commercials, television commercials, or other creations used with the primary purpose of creating new business must not be false or misleading. Additionally, it’s important to note that the deciding factor on whether the purpose was to develop more leads will be the ethics investigators. You must supervise the publication of any creation that is or will be used for the purpose of attracting new clients to make sure that you’ve fulfilled your ethical obligations.
Social Media Platforms May Limit How You May Create or Word Your Ad
While you may believe that it’s perfectly fine to leave social media platform ad creation to your new hire or an agency, you could find yourself in serious trouble for doing so. It’s quite easy for you to log-in to your website and change the wording on a blog post. Some social media platforms limit how many words you can use, the type of image that can be used, and even the actual text that can be used. Other platforms give you more control over how your ad is displayed, but it wouldn’t take more than an accidental click on the wrong category to cause an ethical problem for you.
Keep an eye on the advertisements created for use on social media and always double check that you’ve properly targeted your audience before making the campaign live.
Don’t Delegate Everything
Legal marketing strategies are commonly delegated to save time. Yet, it’s important to remember that you must remain involved in the process. Model Rule 5.3 explains the responsibilities of a lawyer with they use the assistance of a non-lawyer. As mentioned in the first point of this post, lawyers have a duty to ensure that non-lawyers don’t violate the rules. If you don’t provide proper supervision or review the work to ensure it complies with your local rules, you become responsible because you didn’t fix the problem.
It’s Your Responsibility to Ensure Compliance with Legal Ethics
While you don’t have to constantly look over the shoulder of the person or agency tasked with handling legal marketing strategies for your practice, you do need to take reasonable effort to ensure compliance with the legal ethics in your jurisdiction. Again, make sure that you know the rules in your area so that you can properly supervise the creation of your advertisements. Once the campaign is live, monitor it to ensure continued compliance.