So in addition to my other two blogs about Ontario lawyers advertising their fees, I came across the following considerations that I thought were worth mentioning. First, a lawyer’s ability to advertise is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Law Society put out a 5 page .pdf about Ethical Considerations and Technology and stated therein that:
Advertising by lawyers in various forms of electronic media, including web sites, network bulletin boards, and direct e-mail, are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rules contain guidance on advertising that applies equally to electronic advertising.
So advertising fees online is permissible, so long as the Rules are followed. Interestingly, the Law Society’s Knowledge Tree concerning marketing and making legal services available includes an example where a lawyer wants to offer services through a website in two provinces. In response, the Law Society cautions that:
A lawyer or paralegal making representations in generally accessible electronic media should include the name, firm name, mailing address, the jurisdiction(s) where the lawyer is entitled to practise law or the paralegal is permitted to provide legal services, and an e-mail address of at least one firm lawyer or paralegal who will be responsible for the communication.
Taking this advice from the Law Society one step further would mean that any advertising of fees using an electronic medium (such as an email or website) should state clearly detailed information about the services, the price, contact info about the law practice or lawyer offering such services, and who can be reached at the firm concerning that information.
The overall message concerning advertising legal fees (particularly online – where that information stays on night and day and can be accessed by anyone with a computer anywhere in the world) is simple: be transparent and accountable with respect to advertising your fees for services.