Lawyers and law firms should look no further than today’s headlines for examples of what to and what not to do when it comes to effective public relations.
This week, attorneys from Texas and across the U.S. received notices about their upcoming listings in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, which represents a prime marketing opportunity that can go far beyond what many lawyers realize.
Recent breaking news about the potential union of Dallas’ Winstead and Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders is another example of how the media can quickly become a factor in private law firm mergers.
Leaders from Winstead and Troutman declined to confirm last week’s story from The Texas Lawbook about their reported plans for a national megafirm. If they combine, the new firm would include nearly 850 attorneys and annual revenues of more than $700 million.
For more than 20 years, the State Bar of Texas advertising rules have governed lawyer advertising, including print and electronic ads, websites, brochures and practically any communication about a lawyer’s legal services that reaches the public. Despite two decades of regulation, Texas lawyers and law firms still have questions about exactly what is and isn’t allowed, and the potential impact for violations.
That lack of familiarity can lead to a firm or an individual lawyer having their ad, website, etc., labeled as “noncompliant” by the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Department, which reviews lawyer advertising for violations under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Those who fail to remedy noncompliant communications may be the subject of an official complaint filed with the Bar’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
Whether a potential client has heard about your legal work from a friend, colleague or a simple internet search, the first place they visit for more information is your online professional bio. The key is making sure that what you say about yourself is well written, organized, and presented in a way that will impress the people who see it.
Making sure your website is compliant with the State Bar of Texas ad rules is just one of the many responsibilities for Texas lawyers and law firms who are launching a new site or updating an existing site.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct include many regulations that cover exactly what can and cannot be included on legal websites. Unfortunately, many sites are launched in a rush with no consideration for the implications of having a noncompliant site.