On February 23, 2017, the Law Society of Ontario (“LSO”) introduced amendments to advertising rules that govern legal practitioners in Ontario. The new rules were implemented as a result of law firms’ rapidly increasing marketing efforts, particularly in the world of personal injury advertising, coupled with an equal increase in complaints that the Law Society received. In 2015, the Law Society handled a total of 141 complaints of law firms’ advertising practices.
Malcolm Mercer, chair of the Law Society’s Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group said that the LSO’s new advertising rules focus on ensuring that lawyers market only “demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable” legal services, thereby preventing potential clients from becoming misled, confused or deceived. The Working Group conducted market research that identified several areas of concern with regards to lawyers’ marketing practices.
The amended rules address these concerns by:
Lawyers who violate the Rules of Professional Conduct will be subject to appropriate regulatory action, as to maintain a high standard of professionalism and foster public confidence in the legal profession.
Time will tell as to whether the Law Society’s efforts will have any effect on advertising practices within the legal profession.
 Law Society of Ontario Gazette Newsletter, “Law Society strengthens advertising rules in the public interest”,February 23, 2017.
 LSO Rules, supra note 1, s.4.2-1.1.
 LSO Rules, supra note 1 at the commentary to s. 4.2-1.