When considering law firm SEO marketing, it’s important to be mindful of your state’s bar regulations for advertising. In this article we’ll go over some of the high level points to look out for. We understand and comply with the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct in relation to attorney advertising, as well as the Arizona Ethics Opinion.
Rule 7.1 in Arizona specifies that an attorney may not advertise in any way to “make or knowingly permit another person to make statements or communications on the lawyer’s behalf that are misleading and false.” This includes statements that omit certain necessary facts, or allowing another person to make statements or comments on the lawyer’s behalf that are false.
Rule 7.1 also covers statements about past case results in comments sections. Even truthful reports of a lawyer’s successes on a client’s behalf can be considered misleading if potential clients understand they will receive the same results in regards to their case. To avoid this misunderstanding, a lawyer can can post a disclaimer to their website in clear conspicuous language about past case results.
According to Arizona Rule 7.2 of Professional conduct “a lawyer may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media”, however there are many regulations governing how an attorney goes about their digital advertising. Rule 7.2 regulates that “the name of at least one attorney or law firm and office address must be included in any communications used for advertising that indicates the attorney is responsible for the content on the website or advertisement. This information must be clear and conspicuous and must be of the same size, color, duration, cadence, contrast, location and audibility that an ordinary person would be able to easily read, hear notice and understand.”
Rule 7.4 of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct also states that an attorney may only claim to be a “specialist” in any field of law if:
- The lawyer has been admitted to practice patent law under the United States Patent and Trademark Office;
- The lawyer practices admiralty law, they may use the term “admiralty” or “proctor in admiralty”; or
- The lawyer is certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization or a national entity that has standards for certification the same as those established by the board, they may state the area of specialization they are certified in.
An attorney may claim they do or do not practice is a particular field of law on their website as long as that statement is true. Attorneys can generally use terms such as “concentrates in” instead of “specialized.”