Lawyer Advertising: Being Sued for Calling Yourself the "Best Lawyer"


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The rules of professional responsibility govern the ability to advertise services of a lawyer as the best in the industry or in a certain location.

This claim is subjective and may be misconstrued when the legal representative is unable to win every case for every client.

The ethical code that lawyers ascribe to may affect the ability to advertise as the best in an area, in a field or subject and with certain clients. This means that the legal representative could be in the middle of a civil suit due to competitors and other lawyers claiming his or her claims as being the best are unfounded. It is difficult to ascertain the best of anything, and acquiring proof may also be improbable. This means that opinions into these matters may differ, and some clients may negate these claims based on their experience with the lawyer. Then, the being the best declaration is not true and should not be advertised.

The myriad of duties owed to clients may split the attention of one lawyer so that it is not possible to be the best to everyone all the time. Lawyers are humans as well, and mistakes may still be made which would cause someone at his or her best to become mediocre in these circumstances. This means the lawyer’s advertising support could be the target of conflict or a lawsuit when he or she is not considered the best even if the advertisements claim he or she is. It is best to avoid these situations entirely by rewording the adverts and ensuring the claims have valid support and may be verified.

Litigation with Best Advertising

When a competitor is harmed economically due to the advertising support one lawyer or his or her firm receives due to the perception that he or the company is the best, it is possible that a lawsuit may be initiated. The competitor’s company or individual business may be directly impacted based on local advertising that supports claims of one lawyer being better than another or all others in the region. This means that legitimate clients seek this legal representative rather than alternatives first. That makes a large difference when multiplied by dozens or hundreds of persons seeking legal counsel, help and aid in certain situations.

The claims of the advertisements may also not be valid if the lawyer is unable to confirm that he or she is the best out of all legal representation in the region. If litigation occurs, this claim is usually attacked aggressively. There must be evidence and supportive documentation that shows that the lawyer may be verified as the objective best in the location to retain the title. This may mean each case is broken down and client services may be analyzed to determine if the lawyer’s best effort was applied to these issues. Facing litigation over these matters could result in financial losses if the case is successful for competitors.

The Advertising Support

Companies that back certain persons or that create a campaign to help market the services of an individual could be the target of litigation. However, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that it is up to the competitor, lawyer or entity to show that the lawyer is not the best in the region, local area or state. This may be possible through witness testimony, client records and public knowledge of dealings with the lawyer that is advertised. However, obtaining some pieces of evidence may be difficult. If numerous clients agree that the legal representative is the best, the company may be successful in defending against litigation.

The advertising agency would need legal support in these matters, and it may not be possible to hire the lawyer the company represents due to a conflict of interest. Other challenges may be issued such as ethics and that the claim of being the best is subjective. There may be enough of a case to prove that the legal representative cannot be construed as the best legal professional as advertised by the agency. Litigation in these matters may be for a cease and desist.

The Court Room Case

Many lawsuits are for a remedy to a situation instead of compensation. However, these cases against an advertising agency may be for both. A cease and desist letter may be drafted and sent to the company, and then it may go to court if the activity continues.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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