The Ethics of Online Advertising and Marketing

We're back with a CLE to help demystify the ethical implications surrounding digital/online advertising for lawyers and law firms! In this 60-minute presentation, we'll cover various ethical implications of digital legal marketing used to engage current clients and reach new clients. Attendees will learn about ethical issues concerning law firm websites & blogs, local directories & reviews, lead generation & pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and social media advertising. We will discuss the ethical issues of targeting certain users with Google, Meta/Facebook and Geofencing ad services. We will examine how changes to Google Ads’ keyword matching implementation may lead to ethical issues for law firms in some jurisdictions. We will also examine the legal and ethical issues presented by fake reviews, both positive and negative, that seem to be a part of many law firms’ online directory profiles.

This presentation is approved for one hour of Legal Ethics MCLE credit* in California.


  • Internet Overview
    • Overview of Market, Jurisdictional Issues
    • New Organizations Offering Services, Law Firms v. Non-Law Firms
    • New Ways to Reach Clients & Ethical Issues

  • Internet Advertising
    • Pricings
      • Fixed Fee Directories & Placements
        • No Ethical Issues With the Pricing
        • Potential Ethical Issues for Presentation Content in Some Directories Using Words Like "Best Attorneys"
      • Impressions Pricing
        • No Ethical Issues With the Pricing
      • Clicks Pricing
        • Google Ads, Other Platforms
        • Unfair Competition & Trademark Issues, and Ethical Issues Intro
      • Lead Pricings
        • Google LSAs, Other Platforms
        • Ethical Issues for Some Bars
        • Fixed Price Per Lead v Pricing Based on Competitor Bidding
        • Google LSAs Issues
          • "Google screened" – One Member of the Firm Licensed in the State Where LSA Shows
          • Lawyer Photo Required But Can Be of Lawyer Not Licensed in State
          • Algorithm for Showing Up, Reviews
            • Google Business Profile Reviews (Fake Review Ossues)
            • LSA Reviews (Controlled by Law Firm, Fake Review Issues)
      • Lead Pricing Issues
        • Percentage of Fees
          • Law Firm Referrals (Allowed for Most)
            • Retainer Agreements
            • Of Counsel Relationships
          • Companies
            • AZ, UT
        • Pricing Based on Fees
          • Fixed Fees Services, Lead Pricing
          • Avvo Pricing, Issues With Bars
        • Bid Pricing (Google LSAs)
        • Exclusive v. Non-exclusive Pricing
      • Targeting
        • Keywords
          • Google Ads
            • Unfair Competition & Trademark Issues, Legal Issues, Google Policy
            • Text Ad Restrictions
            • Ethical Issues With Purchasing Competitors' Names
              • State Restrictions
              • Google Ads Changes Causing Law Firm and Lawyer Names to Show When Bidding Only on Service Keywords
          • Other Platforms
        • Remarketing
          • Google Ads Restrictions
          • Facebook/Instagram (Non)restrictions
          • Ethical Issues With Remarketing
        • Geofencing
          • Examples: Hospitals, Brain Injury Clinics
          • Google Restrictions
          • Ethical Restrictions

  • Websites & Blogs
    • Marketing v. Information
      • Ethical Disclaimers (e.g. "Attorney Advertising")
    • Additional Legal Disclaimers
      • Privacy Policies
      • Terms of Service
      • California, EU Disclaimers
    • Accessibility
      • ADA Legal Requirements
      • Ethical Requirements
      • Tools
    • Unfair Competition and Trademarks
      • Writing About Competitors' Cases
      • Using Competitor Names

  • Local Directories & Reviews
    • Local Directories
      • Ethical Issues With Directories Using Terms Like "Best Lawyers"
      • Free v Paid Listings
    • Reviews
      • Obtaining Reviews
        • Platform Restrictions (Google v Yelp)
        • Client v Attorney Reviews
        • Non-client, Non-attorney Reviews
        • Ethical Issues in Giving Reviews
      • Ethical Issues in Responding to Reviews
        • Confidential Information
        • Ethics Cases
      • Fake Reviews
        • Fake Positive Reviews
        • Fake Negative Reviews
Topics covered include: Legal Marketing
Duration of this webinar: 60 minutes
Originally broadcast: May 12, 2023 12:00 PM PT
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits

*CLE credit is only available to Justia Connect Pros. Not a Pro? Upgrade today>>

California CLE

Status: Approved

Credits: 1.0 Legal Ethics

Earn Credit Until: December 22, 2024

Looking for CLE credit? Visit CLE Center CLE Accreditation
Tim Stanley
Tim Stanley CEO
Tim Stanley is the CEO and founder of Justia, one of the most visited legal portals in the world. Justia’s mission is to make law and legal resources free for all. Before founding Justia, Tim founded and was CEO of FindLaw. He is the general counsel and on the Board of Trustees of Public.Resource.Org, and was previously on the Board of Nolo and American LegalNet. Tim has a BS and MS from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
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