Advertising is a cutthroat business - if you’ve seen Mad Men, the real world isn’t far off. But what separates fact from fiction are the rules set in place. A marketing agency simply cannot advertise alcohol to minors, or create too provocative an ad, for example - advertising laws prevent that.
If you’re planning on going to law school and hunting for advertising law jobs specifically, there are many essential things you should know. We have researched everything, from the career paths, to salaries and job prospects, so read on to find out how you too can start a career on the legal side of marketing.
The Advertising Law Job Description
When an advertising firm creates an ad, whether it’s a slogan, a billboard, or a convoluted series of TV ads, it’s not just the boss that needs to approve it. The campaign has to go through the legal department, too, as there’s always a risk of someone’s copyright being infringed, or the ads representing the product in a deceitful manner. That’s where a marketing attorney comes in: This person - or a whole team of them - carries a significant burden, as they need to go over all the ad-related materials and ensure none of them can be a cause for legal action against the company.
Therefore, a marketing firm relies on its legal team to keep track of all the current rules and regulations set by the FTC. Things can get even more complicated if an ad campaign is set to run worldwide. In that case, advertising law jobs entail preempting any possible legal issues for each country the ad creative will be shown in. The scale of this job can and will ramp up quickly; thus, marketing agencies that can afford it often hire entire teams of lawyers instead of relying on a single person.
What Do Advertising Lawyers Do?
When you take on an advertising law job, you’ll be expected to work with one or more marketing teams, usually on a multitude of projects. Campaigns are mostly digital now, and include a lot of social media, video, and internet ads, but that’s not always a rule. Depending on the company, you might be required to work with traditional mediums, such as billboards, newspaper ads, and even coupons. Therefore, your expertise will need to be pretty broad.
Most advertising attorney jobs consist of these duties on a day-to-day basis:
- Counseling the client’s marketing department
- Reviewing promotional materials to ensure they’re FTC-compliant
- Reviewing claims made by other companies towards the client
- Helping with press releases, newsletters, and other forms of online presence for the company
- Employee education through training, seminars, internal newsletters, etc.
- Keeping up to date with laws and regulations, marketing-related and otherwise
Pretty much all advertising law jobs are office-based. Unlike, say, intellectual property lawyers, whose position can often require court visits, ad lawyers rarely participate in trials. So, if you were looking to avoid courtroom drama, but still want a highly dynamic work environment, this line of work could be one of your top choices. While you may end up traveling around town for different meetings, in most cases, you’ll only work with one big client and stay within their corporate office.
Advertising lawyer jobs often entail working within a more prominent law firm, too. In that case, you’ll be considered an expert on advertising and marketing law, but you won’t have a single big client. Of course, most lawyers seeking to get lucrative jobs in marketing law want to get a position within a lawyer team in a big corporation. That way, they end up working on a more consistent schedule and similar projects, which might be a better fit for some, compared to constantly switching between clients.
Injuries and Illnesses
There aren’t any dangers specific to advertising law careers, at least not in physical terms. You will be working at an office - an environment where hardly anything life-endangering ever happens. That being said, this is often a very stressful career, with a significant workload and tight deadlines. Of course, that too depends on the law firm you end up working with: Some even believe working as a marketing law attorney is as monotonous as a legal job can get. In the end, it’s just a matter of perspective.
Working as a lawyer in marketing doesn’t often require long hours or working on weekends. It’s mostly a standard nine-to-five job, especially for an entry-level position. Lawyers that decide to pursue the single-client route will, of course, be constrained by their employer’s work hours. That includes any overtime and holidays, if the marketing team requires your services outside of regular work hours. Freelance advertising law jobs are not that common, as most businesses and marketing agencies want someone that can dedicate practically all their time to them. But freelancing can be a good start if you prefer to set your own hours instead of chasing an associate position.