Can a Law Firm’s Website include Client Testimonials?

What does your state’s rules of professional conduct say about the use of client testimonials on a lawyer’s website?

“Testimonials are written or recorded statements that support your credibility and level of expertise. They also strengthen your reputation by expressing the trust that other people have in you and your business offerings. They are a wonderful tool that helps you to attract a deeper interest from perspective clients and existing clients and will ultimately make you and your business increasingly more successful [via CompuKol Connection].” “Testimonials from satisfied customers illustrate the value of your products and services. They are a very powerful component of an effective PR message and can build your credibility quickly! [via Impact]”

Client testimonials are marketing gold. So, why have ethic committees and committees on attorney advertising eviscerated the power of testimonials? In New Jersey, a testimonial from a client is essentially limited to commenting that an attorney is:
  • A nice guy
  • Responsive
  • Compassionate
  • A good listener
  • And has a plan for world peace

In other words…Useless.

Interactive map of ethics rules for every state

Simply click on the image of a map of the United States (below). You’ll be whisked to the American Bar Association website where you’ll find this interactive map. It is a great resource for zeroing in on each state’s rules of professional conduct, and more…

This image is the header for the interactive map below on our blog post about ethic rules for lawyers advertising

This image is an interactive map with links to the ethics rules for each state in the United States

Commentary

Please don’t cede control of your attorney’s website or blog to a civilian, who isn’t conversant with the rules of professional conduct as they relate to lawyer advertising. I urge you to educate yourself about the rules, ethic opinions, and advisory guidelines. Forget about including watered down testimonials in your marketing strategy because if the testimonial is valuable, it probably violates a rule.

Resources:

Opinions of the NJ Supreme Court Ethics Committees

  • Go to the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics Opinions
  • Go to the Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinions
  • Go to the Committee on Attorney Advertising

Committee on Attorney Advertising: Testimonials

  • Opinion #15

Committee on Attorney advertising: Testimonials & endorsements

  • Opinion #33 (supersedes Opinion #15)