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  • Client Development Strategies to Get and Retain Clients
  • Promoting Your Firm with the Power of Social Media
  • Keeping Your Clients Happy and Coming Back for More: Defining Value in Your Firm

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ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct

  • Labeling Direct Solicitations as "Advertising Material" Opinions 12-04
  • For Profit Referral Service Opinion 97-05

Other Ethics Resources

  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18 Duties to Prospective Client
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 6.2 Accepting Appointments
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1 Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2 Advertising
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3 Solicitation of Clients

More ISBA Ethics Resources



  • Surviving the Networking Reception
    Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2017

    Dread the meet-and-greet time built into professional conferences? Here are tips for making the most of your next networking event.

  • Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, August 2017

    What's the experience like at your law firm for the people who matter most - your clients? Isn't it time you asked them?

  • Michael D. Wong
    Diversity Matters, June 2017

    Compliance with Version 2.0 AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, published by the World Wide Web Consortium, requires addressing issues that impact how a website is perceived, operable, understandable and robust.

  • To invest or not to invest in online marketing
    Dion U. Davi
    The Bottom Line, May 2017

    You have to invest a certain amount of time and money to be relevant in the legal profession. The question becomes how much, and to arrive at the answer you have to determine your ultimate goal.

  • Alan Pearlman
    The Bottom Line, May 2017

    A review of LexBlog, Inc., a company that will take all of the guesswork out of preparing and creating your legal blog.

  • Social media and the prospective client: Avoiding the pitfalls
    John Bathke
    YLDNews, February 2017
    While having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can help you attract new clients, remember the Rules of Professional Conduct and take the necessary precautions.
  • Birthing the baby: Making sure your baby grows up healthy
    Letisha Luecking Orlet
    The Bottom Line, February 2017

    The author shares easy ways to grow your practice.

  • Margaret Manetti
    The Catalyst, February 2017
    Make a goal of two-three new people each event and a minimum of one event a month. By putting in that time and effort, before you know it, you will have a fantastic new group of people in your life by the end of the year!
  • Vincent Oppedisano
    YLDNews, December 2016

    As lawyers trying to provide value to our firms by generating new business, there are special limits placed on us by the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly by Rule 7. Young lawyers should study this entire Rule in detail, but here are some key takeaways.

  • Using Your Website Titles to Increase Search Rank; Lawyers’ Average Salaries
    Illinois Bar Journal, August 2016

    Title tags are one of the most important factors Google looks at in determining search result rank.

  • Is it Time to Update Your LinkedIn Profile?
    Illinois Bar Journal, July 2016

    Freshen up your photo, add skills, and take other steps to optimize your presence on LinkedIn.

  • Tips for Using Video to Market Your Practice
    Illinois Bar Journal, June 2016

    Videos can help you connect with clients. Here's how to add them to your marketing mix.

  • Your next Web site: Going from a handful of ideas to a powerful business tool
    Theresa Kuhl
    The Bottom Line, May 2016

    A look at the most important steps and decisions you’ll face when it comes to getting a new Web site for your law practice.

  • Illinois Bar Journal, March 2016

    Six tips to ensure that your website is meeting your marketing needs.

  • What does your e-mail address say about you?
    Rana E. Meents
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, February 2016

    Is your e-mail address conveying the image you want to convey?

  • Supercharged Social Media Marketing
    Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, January 2016

    Are you using Google Plus? Blogging? Using video? Describing yourself consistently across social media and the web? Find out what social media power users are doing to market their practices.

  • Boosting your online presence through Facebook advertising
    Julie Pirtle
    YLDNews, December 2015

    If your firm does not already have a dedicated Facebook page, you need one--immediately

  • Internet marketing, part II—Search-engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising
    Michael Downey
    The Bottom Line, April 2015

    A discussion of the two types of Internet marketing and the legal ethics issues with each.

  • Internet marketing, part I – The law firm Web site
    Michael Downey
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, March 2015

    The author provides useful guidance to help you establish or improve your firm’s Internet presence.

  • Make Your Personal Style Work for You
    Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, August 2014

    Afraid you're too shy to get up and do what needs to be done to market your practice? Fear not. Good marketing is more about listening than talking.

  • Tips for lawyers looking to network and market themselves
    David Neiman
    YLDNews, August 2014

    Some ideas for getting your name out there.

  • Five law firm marketing ideas for 2014
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, April 2014

    Five ideas that might be helpful in your 2014 planning.

  • Marketing Your Practice via Social Media
    Maria Kantzavelos
    Illinois Bar Journal, April 2013

    You can find clients on Facebook and LinkedIn. Or, more to the point, they can find you. But be sure to go about it the right way or you'll lose business and run afoul of ethics rules.

  • How to brag online without sounding like a jerk
    Joshua Johnson
    The Catalyst, January 2013

    No one wants to work with a jerk, so here are some ways you can let people know how truly awesome you are—without sounding conceited.

  • Diversify your marketing efforts for best results
    Laura Reed
    The Bottom Line, September 2012

    Regardless of what percentage of your revenue you spend on marketing, there are several tactics to help small and growing law firms get the attention they need and deserve in a competitive climate. 

  • Bonnie Booth
    Illinois Bar Journal, August 2012

    When most people search for lawyers, they search the Internet. So why don't more lawyers have websites?

  • Building your online network
    Peter LaSorsa
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, October 2010

    Use these tips to improve your Internet presence and ensure your business comes up on the first page of a Google or Yahoo search.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, August 2010

    Don't hide your lamp under a bushel, experts warn, or your clients may head for lawyers with better self-promotional skills.

  • Seek power: A woman lawyer’s guide to self-promotion
    Emily N. Masalski
    The Catalyst, December 2009

    On October 20, 2009, Paula Hudson Holderman and Delilah B. Flaum, of Winston & Strawn coached more than 100 women lawyers on how to get over the “anti-networking” mindset and formulate a plan that will lead them to a more fulfilling career.

  • Use guest articles to promote your practice: Turn research and results into story topics
    Geri L. Dreiling
    The Bottom Line, September 2008

    When a lawyer gets a great result, devises a winning strategy, tackles an old issue with a 21st-century twist or develops an approach that helps avoid a legal minefield, the client benefits.

  • G. M. Filisko
    Illinois Bar Journal, January 2008

    You didn’t go to law school to be a salesperson, but you still have to sell yourself to prospective clients. Here’s how.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, May 2006

    Blogs are sprouting like mushrooms these days, it seems. Why do lawyers blog? Should you join them?

  • Mary Katherine Danna
    Illinois Bar Journal, November 2005

    Should you build a Web site? Buy a listing in an online directory? Here's an introduction to Web-based marketing.

  • Tom Simons
    YLDNews, June 2004

    Does anyone like a good healthy debate more than a lawyer? The truth of the matter is that the case for legal services advertising is particularly contentious, since there is compelling evidence to support both positions.

  • How to design a simple education-based Web site for an individual attorney
    Trey Ryder
    YLDNews, June 2004

    As a rule, the more lawyers you have in your firm, the less able you are to focus your Web site's attention on any one lawyer's knowledge and experience. An easy solution is for each lawyer to have his own education-based Web site.

  • How to design a simple education-based Web site for an individual attorney
    Trey Ryder
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, June 2004

    As a rule, the more lawyers you have in your firm, the less able you are to focus your Web site's attention on any one lawyer's knowledge and experience.

  • Trey Ryder
    YLDNews, April 2004

    The author has identified 18 myths... do you believe any of them?

  • The DOs and DON’Ts of marketing a small law firm
    Richard L. Migala
    The Bottom Line, April 2004
    A long-term strategic marketing plan is essential to producing a financially successful practice that will continue to provide profit throughout our professional career.
  • What you charge is key to your marketing message
    YLDNews, June 2003

    When hiring a lawyer, prospects want to make the right decision. Yet to thoroughly check out a lawyer, a prospect needs to conduct a fair amount of time-consuming research.

  • Paul Sullivan
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 1999

    Attorneys are not above the laws of good marketing; ignore them at your peril.


  • Illinois Bar Journal, June 2017

    Referring cases can be good for clients and the referring attorney - just make sure you know what your obligations are.

  • How to ethically and profitably refer personal injury clients
    Dan Breen
    The Bottom Line, May 2017

    A look at a few best practices to ensure that you are protected and stand to make money on your personal injury referrals.

  • How reliable are those online attorney reviews really?
    Mark C. Palmer
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, May 2016

    Lawyers need to educate themselves on how Avvo and other rating systems are formulated before participating in them, and be vigilant about the accuracy of the information used for such calculations and what is displayed to the public

  • Beware the New, Stricter Standards for Referral Fee Agreements
    Jeffrey C. Blumenthal
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2014

    Will the court enforce your referral fee agreement? A recent case ups the ante by requiring strict, not merely "substantial," compliance with ethics rules.

  • Illinois Lawyer Finder: ISBA’s Member-Client Connection
    Mark D. Hassakis
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2010

    Illinois Lawyer Finder can connect you with clients. Shouldn't you be there?

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, May 2005

    It's permissible to refer cases to other lawyers and share in the fee, as long as you meet the requirements.

  • Trey Ryder
    YLDNews, April 2004

    The author has identified 18 myths... do you believe any of them?

Client Development

  • What is a blawg and why should you care?
    Nicole Sartori
    The Bottom Line, September 2015

    Why should you write a legal blog or 'blawg,' as the tech guys call it? Because it can generate leads, establishes you as a leader in your field among your colleagues, and it can be a stress reliever.

  • Surviving the Networking Reception
    Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2017

    Dread the meet-and-greet time built into professional conferences? Here are tips for making the most of your next networking event.

  • 5 tips for practicing as a downstate attorney
    Samantha Dudzinski
    YLDNews, August 2017

    Is practicing downstate really any different from practicing in Cook or collar counties? Well, yes and no.

  • Should “free consultations” R.I.P.?
    Nicole Sartori
    The Bottom Line, October 2016

    Before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of charging a consultation fee, one must consider the type of client they are seeking and the type of law they are practicing.

  • How reliable are those online attorney reviews really?
    Mark C. Palmer
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, May 2016

    Lawyers need to educate themselves on how Avvo and other rating systems are formulated before participating in them, and be vigilant about the accuracy of the information used for such calculations and what is displayed to the public

  • Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, November 2015

    In a tough legal marketplace, putting clients first and providing excellent service is a must. It starts with putting yourself in the client's place.

  • Top Tens for Client Satisfaction
    Illinois Bar Journal, November 2015

    Making clients happy isn't just about good legal outcomes - it's also about good customer service.

  • 10 steps to curate a professional image online
    Corey Varma
    YLDNews, October 2015

    When someone types your name into a search engine, what will they see? Use these 10 tips to improve what future employers, clients and adversaries may learn about you online.

  • Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 2015

    Lawyers and practice advisers explain the importance of strategic planning to long-term success.

  • Participate to grow your business
    Joshua Herman
    YLDNews, June 2014

    How becoming involved in a local bar association, the ISBA, or a community organization can help you successfully grow your business as a young lawyer.

  • A Family Lawyer’s Guide to Tending Client Relationships
    Janan Hanna
    Illinois Bar Journal, May 2014

    Choosing the right clients and managing their expectations may be the two most important jobs for any family law practitioner.

  • Rainmaking in Dry Times
    Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, June 2013

    How do you attract new clients and retain existing ones in this economy? Consultants and Illinois lawyers offer battle-tested tips.

  • How effective law firm leadership practices can help you acquire and keep your clients
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, June 2013

    Law firms that fail to address leadership issues may find themselves unprepared for the future and unable to acquire new clients and retain existing clients.

  • Farming more business—Learn something from a video gamer
    Jeff Krause
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, June 2012

    There is business out there, much of it just waiting for whoever simply makes the effort to pick it up.

  • Business development in the 21st Century: Building your personal brand online
    Erin E. Wright
    YLDNews, April 2011

    Potential clients and the public at large are online and are likely searching for you. Put your best foot forward by introducing yourself in a variety of online forums that are free, relatively easy to use, and exceptionally effective at increasing the value of your personal brand.

  • Key strategies for generating profitable new clients
    Byron G. Sabol
    The Challenge, February 2011

    Clients do business with, and refer business to, lawyers they know, like, and trust. By focusing marketing efforts on the strategies outlined in this article, women lawyers will become better known and liked by clients.

  • Your client is cheating on you with another lawyer: Why client loyalty is disappearing and why your marketing (or lack thereof) may be to blame.
    Richard Davis
    The Bottom Line, June 2010

    A few things you should be doing to “market” to your current clients so they don’t wander.

  • Where have all the clients gone?
    Donald E. Weihl
    The Bottom Line, December 2009

    Have your clients stopped calling? Is your daily mail just bills?

  • Jean A. Kenol
    YLDNews, June 2008

    One of the most intimidating and daunting thoughts for any lawyer who decides to embark on a solo or small practice is wondering where the clients will come from.

  • How to make your business development breakthroughs in the coming year
    Michael Cummings
    Barry Schneider
    YLDNews, April 2007

    Take control of your career by embracing the entrepreneurial mindset and active behavior of a rainmaker.

  • Design your client agreement as a legal and marketing document
    Trey Ryder
    YLDNews, August 2005

    Don't underestimate the importance of your agreement as both a legal and marketing document. Because if prospects aren't comfortable with your agreement, they may not sign it--and all your prior legal marketing efforts have been for naught

  • Attracting business 101
    Donald E. Weihl
    The Bottom Line, January 2005

    In the March, 1995 issue of The Bottom Line (Vol. 16, No. 3), an article appeared entitled "Rainmaking." The article included 10 suggestions in the form of practice tips for improving a lawyer's ability to attract business.

  • Telephone calls from prospects: How to protect yourself from this two-edged sword
    Trey Ryder
    YLDNews, October 2004

    If you're like most lawyers, you know the value of speaking with a prospective client over the telephone before your first meeting.

  • Getting and keeping clients
    John L. Nisivaco
    YLDNews, August 2004

    Most lawyers understand the importance of networking, but they aren't sure how to do it.

  • 10 business development resolutions
    Michael Cummings
    YLDNews, February 2004

    It is natural at this time of year to set goals for the upcoming year. So, what kind of results do you want to create for your personal practice this year?

  • First impressions have big impacts
    Carl R. Draper
    The Bottom Line, January 2004

    When the new prospective client walks in your office, what is the first impression? What do they see and hear as they sit in the reception area, on the way to your office, and in your office? The answer may not be obvious. An "impression audit" is in order for most offices.

  • How to get more business: 25 tips for marketing the small law firm
    Dr. John W. Olmstead Jr.
    The Bottom Line, March 2003

    Gone are the days when attorneys simply practiced law. Today, they face increased competition, shrinking demand for services and increasing supply of professional talent, availability of service substitutes, and marketing of professional services.

  • Everyone can generate new clients
    Lawrence M. Khon
    Robert N. Kohn
    The Bottom Line, March 2003

    While the obstacles to selling are real, they can be overcome.

Marketing Ethics

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, May 2006

    Go forth and blog, experts say, but not without educating yourself about relevant ethical issues. 

  • The Ratings Game
    Janan Hanna
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 2014

    Sites like Avvo that rate lawyers and encourage consumer reviews are evoking reaction positive and negative in the legal community – and posing interesting ethical challenges.

  • Blogging, Marketing, and the Rules of Professional Conduct
    Charles J. Northrup
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2013

    A recent Virginia case offers dos and don'ts for lawyer blogging.

  • Friending Your Enemies, Tweeting Your Trials: Using Social Media Ethically
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2011

    A look at the special ethical challenges that arise when lawyers use Facebook, Twitter and the like and how to address them.

  • Talking About You
    Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2008

    Make sure your ads and other communications to the public don't violate ethics rules.