As legal marketers we are challenged with wanting to promote our firms and attorneys v. legal ethics established by our individual states and the American Bar Association.
Legal Marketing 101 is that we don’t print it without the client’s WRITTEN approval. This includes publishing a list of clients on our websites or in the firm collateral, including a “recent verdict” in a newsletter, client alert or brochure, or publishing a press release.
So I was shocked to see the headline: Quinn Emanuel Brochure Spills Value of Confidential Facebook Settlement.
Lawyers in the heavyweight fight had expended great effort to keep the settlement secret — even going as far as persuading a judge to clear the courtroom of reporters on one occasion. But ConnectU’s former lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges published the settlement amount in a firm advertisement trumpeting the firm’s prowess.
“WON $65 million settlement against Facebook” appears, along with dozens of other Quinn outcomes from last year, in the firm’s January business litigation newsletter.
It appears that the client, who is suing the firm at the moment, isn’t happy.
So, here’s my rule:
- if you publicly disclose a client’s name, get written approval from the client;
- if you publicly reference a case by name in your collateral materials, get written approval from the client;
- if you include a recent victory in a press release, get written approval from the client;
- if you are in doubt, at any time, get written approval from the client.