Testimonials for lawyers: How to use them when you’re not allowed to use them


Some lawyers aren’t allowed to use testimonials. They are precluded from doing so by their bar association or law firm. That’s a shame. Testimonials are powerful “third party” evidence of the lawyer’s skills, dedication, and trustworthiness. They can help you sign up more clients, get more referrals, and make new clients feel better about choosing you.

If you want to use testimonials, but you aren’t allowed to, here’s what I suggest.

First, make sure you know exactly what you can and cannot do. Carefully read the rules and any case law in your jurisdiction. Contact your bar association and get clarification. You may find that you can use testimonials in print, but not in electronic communication. You may be able to use testimonials if they don’t mention specific results but merely attest to your work ethic or “customer service”.

Look for the loopholes and use them.

Second, consider that a testimonial is essentially a story. The client had a problem, you fixed the problem, and the client lived happily ever after. When the client tells that story, i.e., in their own words, it is a testimonial. You may not be allowed to use their words, but you may be able to use their story.

Let’s say you have a page on your website where you would post testimonials if you were allowed to. What you could do instead is post “success stories” about clients you’ve helped and legal problems you’ve solved. You could title the page, “Recent Client Success Stories”.

You could do something similar in your ads, videos, and presentations. Anywhere you would use a testimonial you can use a success story.

Perhaps the best way to use these stories is to put them in your articles, blog posts, and presentations, to illustrate the points you are making. Weave those stories into your narrative, like this: “Last week, I had a client who. . .”. Describe the problem and the happy solution. You could also tell stories about clients who didn’t follow your advice and had a bad outcome.

To make this even more effective, describe the client. Give a detail or two about their age or background. Help the reader see them in their mind’s eye.

Are clients’ success stories as effective as their testimonials? In some ways, they are more effective.

In some contexts, testimonials may come off as crass and commercial or inconsistent with a lawyer’s image. A success story, on the other hand, especially one that is woven into the narrative of an article, doesn’t have that challenge.

Success stories are a natural, believable, and compelling way to depict you “in action,” solving problems and helping clients. They should be used in all aspects of your marketing, with or without testimonials.

Learn more about success stories and testimonials for lawyers. Click here.