Unethical Advertising for Legal Services
Nov. 7, 2022
Advertising is strictly regulated in the legal field, and for good reason. Choosing an attorney to represent you in a serious legal matter is challenging enough. Unethical advertising practices—like face-to-face solicitation—can make it even more difficult. Unfortunately, some bad actors continue to engage in unethical and immoral advertising practices to take advantage of overwhelmed and stressed-out individuals with insurance or personal injury claims.
Let’s break down the key differences between ethical and unethical legal advertising and discover a few key qualities to look for when choosing your personal injury attorney.
Advertising vs. Solicitation
Understanding the difference between legal advertising and attorneys committing solicitation can help protect your interests when searching for an ethical partner for your personal injury claim.
The American Bar Association does not prohibit legal advertising. However, it does create stipulations that all legal advertisements must abide by to pass muster.
For example, ethical, legal advertisements must not:
Guarantee or imply success to clients
Allude to personal or inappropriate connections with judges, law enforcement, or attorneys
State non-verifiable claims, like "the greatest lawyer in town," or make unsubstantiated claims about another attorney or firm
Legal advertisements that follow these standards can be distributed through social media, websites, mailing, television, and radio—so long as they aren't targeting specific individuals obviously in need of representation.
Solicitation is defined by the American Bar Association 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, or reasonably can be understood as offering to provide, legal services for that matter."
Let's break down this legal-ese into plain English. According to the ABA, unethical solicitation occurs when an attorney:
Has prior knowledge of a legal issue or matter an individual is facing
Directly advertises to, approaches, or engages with that individual
Offers or implies an ability to provide legal services for their legal issue or matter
The ABA also prohibits face-to-face solicitation by attorneys when "a significant motive...is the lawyer's or law firm's pecuniary (financial) gain." The only exceptions to this rule are when the individual targeted is:
A previous and routine client of the soliciting lawyer
An individual with family, personal, or previous business experience with the lawyer and/or their firm
Important Qualities of a Personal Injury Attorney
Choosing a personal injury attorney is crucial to your personal injury claim. While there's no foolproof way to choose a personal injury attorney, seeking out attorneys with these qualities is a great place to start.
Attorneys that use dishonest tactics to win clients can be hard to trust down the road. We believe the strongest partnerships are built on mutual trust and take great care to ensure our business practices reflect that belief both in and out of the courtroom.
When you're dealing with cases as sensitive, consequential, and emotional as personal injury claims, you need reliable and convenient access to your attorney. An accessible attorney will understand this and take steps to ensure you're able to ask questions, clarify statements from insurance companies and judges, and simply keep up with the progress of your case.
Experience negotiating with insurance companies and navigating the personal injury claim process allows attorneys to streamline "complicated" tasks and provide precious peace of mind to their clients during every step of their personal injury claim.
Experience can also be invaluable if a personal injury claim goes to litigation. Experienced attorneys' confidence and comfort in the courtroom can be impactful tools when selling a jury on a settlement that fairly compensates your pain and suffering.
While it's no guarantee for the outcome of your case, a strong reputation is an excellent sign of a high-quality attorney or law firm. Resources like Google and the California Bar Association can provide insight into attorneys' skill sets, practice area focus, client experiences, and track records of success. Taking the time to dig into your local personal injury attorneys' reputations allows you to make an informed decision for your personal injury case.
Trusted & Experienced Guidance
If you've suffered an accident or injury due to the negligence or actions of another, you deserve experienced, empathetic, and ethical representation. At G. Aldrich Law, we have nearly 15 years of experience guiding the people of Lakeport and Woodlands Hills, California, through their darkest hours following car crashes, worksite accidents, traumatic brain and spine injuries, and similar personal injury claims. We also proudly serve individuals who suffered an accident or injury in Lake County, Los Angeles County, Colusa County, Riverside County, and the rest of the state. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about how we help our clients move forward.