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The Virginia Appellate Lawyer’s Court of Appeals of Virginia Blog

An Award You Have to Pay For is Advertising; Advertising You Have to Pay For and Provide Prospects i

So today I received my very first “vanity award” notification.  If you are not familiar with the term “vanity award,” its basically advertising in the form of a notification that you have been nominated or selected or are under consideration for a prestigious award such as “Best Bombastic Barristers of the Boondocks” or “Liberty Loving Lawyers,” etc.  To receive the “award” however, you have to be a member of the “association” that bestows the award.

As one observer has put it, you are basically overpaying for a plaque and a window sticker/logo for your website plus a page (created based on your own submission of superlatives about you abilities as an attorney).  In short, this is advertising in the guise of a competitive rating process.

Some of these companies “invite” you to nominate other lawyers for the “honor” and that’s standard practice for marketing firms.  Others, however, require you to do so.  That’s a scam.  They are using you to do their legwork and also telling those you nominate that they have been “selected by their peers” to be recipients of the “award.”

I personally don’t want to join any club that would have someone like me as a member, so I deleted the email.  I do not, however, look down on those lawyers that choose to pay for this sort of advertising.  I get that it’s a cutthroat business for a lot of attorneys and anything that gets the phone ringing is not necessarily a bad thing.

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