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 and Manitoba.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the legal marketing rules that exist in Saskatchewan.
Rule 3.02 (1) Marketing of Professional Services
In Saskatchewan, the core rules governing the practice of legal marketing are rules 3.02 (1), 3.02 (2), and 3.03 (3) in the Law Society of Saskatchewan’s Code of Conduct. Rule 3.02 (1) lays out the general requirements of legal marketing for the prairie 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.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan’s Code of Conduct goes further than other codes by specifically citing examples of marketing practices that would contravene Rule 3.02 (1). These practices include:
(a) stating an amount of money that the lawyer has recovered for a client or referring to the lawyer’s degree of success in past cases, unless such statement is accompanied by a further statement that past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases;
(b) suggesting qualitative superiority to other lawyers;
(c) raising expectations unjustifiably;
(d) suggesting or implying the lawyer is aggressive;
(e) disparaging or demeaning other persons, groups, organizations or institutions;
(f) taking advantage of a vulnerable person or group; and
(g) using testimonials or endorsements that contain emotional appeals.
Rule 3.02 (2) Advertising of Fees
Rule 3.02 (2) in the Law Society of Saskatchewan’s Code of Conduct discusses the advertising of fees for legal professionals. As in most other provinces, lawyers in Saskatchewan are allowed to advertise their fees so long as the advertisement does not make misleading claims.
Specifically, the rule states that a lawyer may advertise their fees provided that:
(a) the advertising is reasonably precise as to the services offered for each fee quoted;
(b) the advertising states whether other amounts, such as disbursements and taxes, will be charged in addition to the fee; and
(c) the lawyer strictly adheres to the advertised fee in every applicable case.
Rule 3.02 (3) Advertising Nature of Practice
As in most other provinces, lawyers in Saskatchewan are allowed to advertise their experience in a preferred practice area so long as the advertisement does not claim that a lawyer or law firm is a specialist or expert. The only instance where a lawyer is allowed to advertise as a specialist or expert is if they have received this designation from the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
Dos and Don’ts
Lawyers in Saskatchewan can:
- Mention their firm’s experience in a specific practice area
- List their practice areas
- Advertise fees (so long as the representation is true and specifies what service the fee is associated with)
Lawyers in Saskatchewan should not:
- Describe themselves as a “specialist”
- Describe themselves as an “expert”
- Describe themselves as a “leader” in their field
- 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 Saskatchewan’s Code of Conduct.