Earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court’s ethics board ruled on the issue of lawyers soliciting clients by text message. Before you get all excited about sending out that next text to a prospective client, you’d better familiarize with the part of the opinion that mentions…so long as the advertising rules of the state are followed.
I’ve long discussed the ethics issues involved in a lawyer using text messaging as a communications tool with clients and prospective clients. There are plenty of lawyer ads and billboards that invite you to text. The area I had never put a lot of thought into was the proactive text–from the lawyer to the potential client offering up legal services. Even someone like me that is engaged in developing marketing strategies for law firms every day had not really embraced the initial touch of a text as a method of advertising communication.
Just as lawyers cull various public records to send direct mail to prospective clients–for criminal defense, tax issues, bankruptcy, personal injury–many are now taking a no-mail-barred approach and going right to the cellphone. It is quicker and cheaper, and likely as effective as the “cold call” letter. In many marketing efforts, we are quickly finding out that the mobile device is the most effective means of communication–through mobile sites, apps, tablets, etc. Why wait for snail mail when you can reach a person right now, wherever they may be? The cell phone is often available right on those accident reports and other potential sources of new business.