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, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the marketing rules of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Rules 4.2 & 4.3 in the Code of Professional Conduct
In Newfoundland, the core rules governing the practice of legal marketing are Rules 4.2 and 4.3 in Chapter 3 of the Law Society of Newfoundland & Labrador’s Code of Professional Conduct. Rule 4.2 indicates general requirements of legal marketing for the maritime province and states:
A lawyer may market professional services, provided that the marketing is:
(a) demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable;
(b) neither misleading, confusing or deceptive, nor likely to mislead, confuse or deceive;
(c) in the best interests of the public and consistent with a high standard of professionalism.”
Rule 4.3 refers to the advertising of a lawyers practice, and very succinctly states:
A lawyer must not advertise that the lawyer is a specialist in a specified field unless the lawyer has been so certified by the Society.
Fortunately, the Law Society of Newfoundland’s Code of Conduct also includes commentary to more specifically indicate what they will and won’t allow.
In regard to Rule 4.2, the commentary generally bars a lawyer from pursuing any advertising that:
(a) Suggests qualitative superiority to other lawyers
(b) Raises expectations unjustifiably
(c) Suggests or implies that the lawyer is aggressive
(d) Disparages or demeans other persons, groups, organizations or institutions
(e) Takes advantage of a vulnerable person or group
(f) Uses testimonials or endorsements that contain emotional appeals
In regard to Rule 4.3, the commentary explains that although a lawyer cannot claim to be an expert or specialist unless designated by a body recognized by the Law Society, they can include descriptions of their or their firms proficiency and experience in a field of law.
Lawyers in Newfoundland should not:
- Call themselves experts
- Use emotional appeals
- Use aggressive imagery or copy in advertising
- Make promises in their ads about the size of rewards
- Attack other lawyers or firms in their advertising
For more information, please refer to the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Code of Professional Conduct.