Use of Client Names In Attorney Marketing Materials

In July 2022, the Orange County Bar Association issued an advisory opinion that holds that client consent is required before using the name of a client in marketing materials for the lawyer’s business.

The Digest of the Opinion states: Absent informed client consent, the duty of confidentiality precludes an attorney from including on her bio or resume or in other marketing materials the names or other information about her representation of a client or former client if the listing would be embarrassing or detrimental to that client or the client requested it to be kept confidential. An attorney also may not suggest that she regularly represents a client absent that client’s informed consent. In addition, even if listing a representation would not be embarrassing or detrimental to the client, and thereby not a breach of duty of confidentiality, an attorney still would be precluded from listing the client representation if the listing is in any way misleading.

I agree with this advisory opinion. Even client’s whose cases went to trial and resulted in a verdict may not want their identity disclosed or their matter discussed. There is one caveat: if the representation results in a published opinion the lawyer can certainly discuss the opinion or list the opinion on his website or resume. What you should not do is to disclose any confidential facts about the client.

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