Another recent article in the ABA Journal E-report discusses a December 2005 Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline ruled that offering coupons for free or discounted legal services was a violation of the Ohio Code of Professional Conduct. You can link to the opinion here.
The opinion notes that in Ohio, advertising fees as ‘discount’ or ‘special’ is expressly prohibited. However, a lawyer is permitted to advertise fees for an initial consultation, and may indicate that an initial consultation is free.
One can only guess that some lawyers who have never practiced law and/or dealt with average people on legal issues spent time carefully crafting the distinction between discount services and coupons. But oh yes, we lawyers know that consumers are too stupid to protect their interests when shopping for reasonably priced legal services.
Heck, instead of sanctioning fellow lawyers who are trying to make legal services more affordable we ought to be giving them a pat on the back.
As a heads up, Allison Shields is a former law firm partner and practicing lawyer of 12 years. She now’s a and now a management and marketing consultant to solo practitioners and law firm managers. Her Legal Ease Blog is heck of a resource for law firms.