Personal Injury Attorney Advertising Tips from Ted Lasso
February 17, 2023
Reading time: 2 minutes
Yes, Ted Lasso even has some advice for personal injury lawyers. While we wait for AFC Richmond to take the pitch in Season Three, consider what Ted might say about attorney advertising online:
“If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes it’s easier to speak our minds anonymously.” – Ted Lasso Source: Apple TV
Although Ted probably hasn’t studied the ethics of lawyers using social media to advertise, his risk management advice is spot on. In other words, better not to say anything to a potential client that could be construed as solicitation of their business.
The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct include rules governing attorney advertising. Although the rules allow a lawyer to communicate information about their services through any media, Rule 7.1 provides that “[a] lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.” As what we regard as “media” continues to evolve, so must lawyers’ advertising practices, specifically with respect to the online solicitation of clients. Solicitation is defined as “communication initiated by or on behalf of a lawyer or law firm that is directed to a specific person the lawyer knows or reasonably should know needs legal services in a particular matter and that offers to provide legal services.” Rule 7.3 prohibits lawyers from soliciting employment by live person-to-person contact unless the person being contacted is another lawyer, a family member, or someone with a close personal or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.
So what constitutes “media” or “contact” in a world the communicates through Facebook and LinkedIn? From a risk management perspective, social media accounts and posts are considered attorney advertising and should state the appropriate attorney advertising notice. Does “friending” someone on Facebook or connecting with them on LinkedIn constitute the contact referenced in Rule 7.3? The risk averse personal injury lawyer should avoid this type of social media activity which could potentially violate the solicitation rules if the lawyer knows that person was injured in an accident and may need legal representation. Best practice would be to stick to general information about your practice or firm on your social media channels and include the appropriate advertising disclaimer. By following these tips, you can avoid the dreaded attorney red card in the form of a malpractice lawsuit or grievance. As always, be sure to check your state’s ethics rules for any variations on these Model Rules and for state-specific guidelines.
Want more tips for using social media in your practice? Register for AttPro’s April webinar “Social Awareness: Best Practices for Ethically Using Social Media in Your Law Practice” at https://attorneyprotective.com/april-2023-webinar.
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