When implementing SEO for law firms, 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. Hawaii Rules for Professional Conduct governs all conduct of Hawaii attorneys. Rule 7.1, which governs communications concerning lawyer advertising rules and services, states that a lawyer may not make “false or misleading communications” about their services. A communication can be regarded as false or misleading if it:
- contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading
- is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law
- compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyer’s services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.
The rule also prohibits the use of truthful statements that can still be regarded as misleading, stating:
“Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this Rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer’s communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services for which there is not reasonable factual foundation.”
According to the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.4(c), some communications should contain a disclaimer that “There is no procedure for review or approval of specialist certification organizations in Hawaii.”