So many people go to the state of New York to build out a career, but it’s as imperfect as any other state. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t need lawyers. With lawyers, comes legal marketing, and with legal marketing, comes legal marketing laws.
New York is like any other state, with its own specific set of laws for how lawyers conduct themselves and their business. Unlike other states we have talked about so far, New York focuses a lot on online content. A theme with their laws is making sure that no attorney or law firm is distributing misleading information or misleading people on their chances. This is the law and people’s long-term future that lawyers are dealing with. Making sure they are not misguided on their chances is the responsible thing to do.
But are legal marketing laws easy to understand? All the best intentions don’t change the fact that New York’s attorney advertising laws, much like other states, aren’t as clear as they could be. If you’re an attorney in New York and you aren’t completely sure what it is you can and can’t do, we can help you.
What is an Advertisement in New York?
To first understand what you can and can’t do, you need to know what New York considers an advertisement. In New York, under Rule 7.1, an advertisement is any “public or private communication made by, or on behalf of, a lawyer or law firm, about that lawyer or law firm’s services, the primary purpose for which is the retention of the lawyer or law firm, except communications to current clients or other lawyers.” This means that communication between attorneys and current clients regarding their current cases is not advertising.
This definition applies to just about everything marketing uses to push and expand a brand, including:
- Website pages
- Blog posts
- Email marketing
- SMS/text messaging
- Physical flyers, billboards, and other banner advertisements
- Paid online ads
- Chat rooms
- Search engine listing and posts
- Social media (any account where you post legal information and solicit legal work, not personal accounts for hobbies and socializing)
- Any other internet-related presence
The state, similarly to Pennsylvania, requires that attorneys keep a record of all advertisements, but only for at least one year.
What You Must Do When Advertising Law in New York
Legal marketing laws in New York require certain things to always be on legal marketing materials distributed throughout the state. Whether online or physical, if your legal services are for New York constituents, they must have:
- The name of an attorney at your law firm
- Law office address
- Telephone number of the attorney whose services are being advertised
- A disclaimer that the marketing material is attorney advertising
This has to be on the website, text messaging, directories, ads, social media, etc. With things like websites, they don’t have to be on every page or blog post but have to be readily available and easy to access. With physical advertisements, it’s different because you’re sending out individual pieces, and if one has the information New York requires, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to see it. With text messages and email marketing, regular reminders work but if you go too long without a message or messages with all of the information listed above, you can face repercussions.
What You Can’t Do When Advertising Law in New York
New York has the same laws as other states when it comes to advertising misleading information and calling themselves certain terms. Advertising misleading information is generally illegal, but it carries hefty punishments and oversight for attorneys. The terms that attorneys in New York can’t use include referring to one’s self or law firm as:
These terms have legal meanings in court proceedings that make it confusing and misleading for attorneys to use to describe themselves.
New York has restrictions on attorney websites that other states do not. When it comes to having testimonials on your website–where previous clients talk about how you helped them through a trying court case–they have to meet a few qualifiers. The testimonial must be:
- Factually and verifiably true
- If the testimonial’s legal case is still pending, the client must provide written consent
Attorneys can pay or offer some reward for testimonials, but only if:
- The advertisements make it clear that the person in the testimonial is being compensated.
- There are no false statements or claims in the advertisement that would violate Rule 7.1.
- The attorney or law firm making the statement can back up the statement.
In all cases, somewhere on your testimonial page, it must say, “Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.”
There are also legal marketing laws in New York that restrict what kind of online domains you can have. The domain name of your website must include the name of the attorney or law firm. The only exceptions are when:
- All web pages on the website clearly show the name of the attorney or law firm.
- The attorney or law firm doesn’t use the domain name when practicing law.
- The domain name does not imply the attorney or firm’s ability to obtain results in a matter.
Contact ENX2 Marketing to Handle Legal Marketing Rules in New York
New York has basic rules similar to other states, but it’s the differences that trip up law firms and threaten to derail their ability to practice law. Forgetting to have something on your website, or losing a file to a social media post you made three months ago shouldn’t hurt your firm.
If abiding by all of these rules feels like a second job, contact a legal marketing firm that can handle it. The legal marketing experts at ENX2 Marketing have been handling advertising for clients across the country, including New York. If you need someone to handle your marketing, contact ENX2 Marketing today!