As a lawyer, search engine optimization (SEO) is an instrumental marketing tool for your law firm. SEO consists of multiple elements and having a basic understanding of how it works will help you see its value in your business. One key reason why SEO is significant is that it will make your law firm website more visible. That means more traffic and possibly greater opportunities to acquire more customers online.

Beyond that, online marketing is a valuable tool if you’d like to create brand awareness, build relationships with your prospects and clients as well as position your law firm as an authoritative resource in the legal field. If someone wants to know about a certain area of law, they’d go looking for that information online and your blog would come up. This means you can provide the prospect with valuable information, and when the time comes for them to seek legal services, you’d be the first law firm that came to mind.

The Law Society of Ontario has developed advertising regulations, which impact the type of marketing law firms can use. The legal marketing rules prevent law firms from engaging in advertising that’s misleading, confusing, or deceiving. When you partner with marketing specialists who have knowledge and experience in law firm advertising, you can rest assured that all your online promotions are according to the law.

Legal Content Online

Legal marketers in Ontario face strict prohibitions put in place by the Law Society of Upper Canada. These rules are clearly stipulated in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Code of Conduct under Section 4.2 and 4.3.

In subsection 4.2.1, lawyers are only permitted to market their legal services if:

  • The marketing is demonstrably true, accurate, and verifiable
  • The marketing is not misleading, confusing or deceptive, nor is it likely to mislead, confuse or deceive the public
  • The marketing is in the best interest of the public and maintains the highest standards of professionalism.

Included in section 4.2 are marketing activities that aren’t allowed. They include content that is suggesting superiority to other law firms in the region or that takes advantage of a vulnerable person or group. In fact, testimonials or appeals that have an emotional connection are prohibited for use by law firms as a marketing tactic.

Can you market yourself as a specialist?

According to the Law Society of Upper Canada code of conduct, lawyers are not allowed to market themselves as a specialist in any field unless they do possess certification in that area. Additionally, if you are certified as a specialist in one jurisdiction, you can only advertise as a specialist in all jurisdictions if you specify the authority or organization that offered the certification. Law firms are prohibited from misleading the public on claiming they are the most proficient or most experienced. This includes the use of the words “best”, “first” and “greatest”. For example, instead of saying “John Smith is the best lawyer in Toronto,” it is safer to say “John Smith possesses over 15 years of experience in personal injury law."

Lawyers Advertising Ethics

Besides the principles set aside by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the marketing of legal services must be in line with professional ethics. For instance, many firms utilizing advertising techniques that make unverifiable claims such as “we win all cases” or “we are the best in the region” can often be described as unprofessional. Such kind of advertising is criticized for being misleading.

Another matter that is considered unprofessional is the use of referral fees. Some law firms send out advertisements only to acquire new clients and outsource cases to other firms in exchange for a referral fee. The law now requires that if a law firm intends to refer clients to another law firm in exchange for a fee, they should disclose this in their advertising.

These rules are meant to provide a higher standard of professionalism in law firm advertising and sustain the public’s confidence in the legal profession.


This article was provided by dNovo Group, digital marketing agency offering SEO services for law firms and individual attorneys in Canada. Visit our website for more information