Manitoba Legal Marketing Rules in Brief

Because Skunkworks markets on behalf of law firms across Canada, we are required to stay up to date on the legal marketing rules of each province. In the past, we’ve provided quick refreshers on the legal marketing rules that exist in Nova Scotia, BC, Alberta, and Ontario.

In this post, we’ll be discussing the legal marketing rules that exist in Manitoba.

Rule 5-114(1) Marketing Professional Services

In Manitoba, the core rules governing the practice of legal marketing are rules 5-144(1) and 5-144(2) in the Law Society of Manitoba’s Code of Conduct. Rule 5-144 lays out general requirements of legal marketing and states that:

A member or law firm may market professional services, provided the marketing:

(a) is demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable;
(b) is not misleading, confusing or deceptive or likely to mislead, confuse or deceive;
(c) is in the best interests of the public and consistent with a high standard of professionalism;
(d) of a law corporation is done under the name of the corporation;
(e) of a limited liability partnership is done under the name of the limited liability partnership.

Rule 5-144(2) Preferred Area of Practice

Rule 5-144(2) discusses the advertising of preferred practice areas. As in most other provinces, lawyers in Manitoba are allowed to advertise a preferred practice area so long as the advertisement does not claim – directly or indirectly – that a lawyer or law firm is a specialist or expert.

Dos and Don’ts

Generally speaking, The Law Society of Manitoba’s Code of Conduct is less specific than the others that we’ve looked at in this series. Whereas other societies specifically outlaw emotional appeals, the use of the word “expertise”, and aggressive advertising, Manitoba’s Code of Conduct only generally prohibits advertising that is misleading, confusing or deceptive or likely to mislead, confuse, or deceive. However, the following are some quick Dos and Don’ts that we recommend for Manitoba’s legal marketers.

Lawyers in Manitoba can

  • Mention their firm’s experience in a specific practice area
  • List practice areas
  • Advertise Fees (so long as the representation is true and specifies what service the fee is associated with)

Lawyers in Manitoba should not:

  • Use the word “specialist” or “expert”
  • Suggest their law firm or firm’s lawyers are aggressive
  • Attack other law firms or groups in their advertising material
  • Use emotional appeals

For more information, please refer to the Law Society of Manitoba’s Code of Conduct

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