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Tips When Asking Clients for Testimonials

Testimonials are the next best thing to referrals -- real people saying good things about your practice.

There are pluses and minuses, however. And when it comes to lawyer advertising, of course ethics rules apply.

But if there is one watch-word when looking for testimonials, the word is "real." Here are some other tips:

Real People

Carolyn Elefant, a go-to blogger for solo practitioners, says testimonials and endorsements are not the same thing. Endorsements, which often come from colleagues or other non-clients, don't have the same impact as testimonials.

"In my view, the most powerful testimonials come from clients who used your services in the past," she writes.

Elefant recommends asking clients for testimonials by email because their statements will be in a digital format. She cautions that pre-written testimonials sound fake. They also could violate ethics rules on advertising, although the rules don't directly address testimonials.

True Statements

Rule 7.1 Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services comes close. It says a lawyer "shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services."

Larry H. Parker, a plaintiff's attorney, pushed the limit with some of his television testimonials. One client famously said, "Larry H. Parker got me 2.1 million."

But after rules curtailed advertising dollars claimed in such cases, the same client said in a subsequent commercial: "Larry H. Parker got me... you know the story."

Want more information on effective advertising? Let the experts at FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing give you a hand.

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