MANAELA recognizes that any effort to limit attorney marketing, must balance efforts to maintain the dignity and professionalism of the Bar with First Amendment protections. However, marketing by Elder Law attorneys raises distinct issues compared with lawyer advertising in general as our practice includes client advocacy involving public benefit programs. For example, to the extent MassHealth is viewed as a poverty program, advertising by Elder Law attorneys can adversely affect the legislative goals of the Chapter and our clients. In addition, given the issues our clients are grappling with, they are especially vulnerable to advertising which is intended to frighten them or which exaggerates risks they face. MANAELA believes elder law attorneys should be sensitive to public perceptions and to the vulnerabilities of our prospective clients in all marketing endeavors.
Elder law attorneys are, of course, bound by Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. The advertising and marketing standards listed below are intended to compliment these Rules and highlight the particular needs and vulnerabilities of our clients.
The Elder Law Attorney:
- Considers the potential for marketing to educate the public, to promote the profession of elder law and to influence public policy in a manner consistent with Chapter goals.1
- Prepares or disseminates marketing communciations2 that are truthful and which do not include statements or representations that are false, misleading or inflammatory.
- Takes into consideration the intended audience for any marketing communication and in particular the potential vulnerability of that audience.
- Accurately describes legal concepts, procedures, programs, or techniques in marketin communications.
- Uses client endorsements in marketing communications only if those endorsements reflect the honest opinion or experience of the actual client, and discloses if the client’s experience is not typical.
- Uses organizational endorsements in marketing communications only if those endorsements reflect the collective judgment of the organization, and discloses any relationship between the organization and the attorney which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement.
1To promote public policies that benefit elder law clients.
2Marketing communications include: print, television, radio, Internet, seminars and presentations. All marketing communications using the chapter logo must include the name and firm of the chapter member.