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 BC, Alberta, and Ontario.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the legal marketing rules that exist in Nova Scotia.
Rule 3.02 (1) Marketing Professional Services
In Nova Scotia, the core rules governing the practice of legal marketing are rules 3.02 (1), 3.02 (2), and 3.03 (1) in the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Code of Professional Conduct. The first of these rules lays out general requirements of legal marketing and states that:
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.
Included in this subsection is additional commentary regarding practices that violate the rules of legal marketing in Nova Scotia. Marketing activities that are restricted include the suggestion of qualitative superiority to other lawyers, suggesting or implying that a lawyer is aggressive, disparaging or demeaning other persons, groups, organizations or institutions, taking advantage of a vulnerable person or group, and using testimonials that contain emotional appeals.
Rule 3.02 (2) Advertising Fees
Rule 3.02 (2) discuses the advertising of fees. Generally, a lawyer is allowed to advertise their fees as long as the fee advertised precisely indicates what services will be provided, and whether other amounts – disbursements and taxes – will be charged in addition to the fee. In all cases, a lawyer advertising their fee must strictly adhere to the amount advertised.
Rule 3.03 (1) Advertising Nature of Practice
Rule 3.03 in the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Code of Professional Conduct states that a lawyer cannot use the words “specialist”, “specializing”, “expert”, “expertise” or related synonyms in their marketing. A lawyer can, however, advertise their area of practice, as well as a lawyer’s or law firm’s experience in an area of law.
Dos and Don’ts
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Code of Professional Conduct provides a full description of the various prohibitions for legal marketers in Nova Scotia, however, the following are some dos and don’ts that will give you a quick summary of practices that you can implement and practices that you should avoid.
Lawyers in Nova Scotia are allowed to engage in the following:
- Mention their firm’s experience and proficiency in a specific practice area
- Use non-emotional testimonials
- List practice areas
- Advertise Fees (so long as the representation is true and specifies what service the fee is associated with)
Lawyers in Nova Scotia are not allowed to:
- Use the word “specialist”, “expert”, “expertise”, or “specializing”
- 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 Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Code of Conduct