The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
FLORIDA BAR STANDING COMMITTEE ON ADVERTISING

OPINION A-99-1
June 2, 2000

[Approved by the Board of Governors on June 2, 2000.]


An attorney who sends informational newsletters to prospective clients must file the first issue of the newsletter for review by the Committee. Subsequent newsletters must be filed for review only if they include additional information about the law firm and the new firm information is not presumptively permissible under the rules.

Note: Rule 4-7.2(c)(10) was amended by the Supreme Court in In re: Amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar - Subchapter 4-7, Lawyer Advertising Rules,108 So.3d 609, (Fla. Jan. 31, 2013). The rule contains additional exemptions and was renumbered as 4-7.16.

RPC: 4-7.7(a), 4-7.4(b), 4-7.2(c)(10)

An attorney has requested an opinion regarding application of the attorney advertising rules to a newsletter. The inquirer proposes to send an informational newsletter on a quarterly basis to banks and other lenders who are not current or former clients of the law firm. The newsletter contains articles regarding current case law and legislation on creditor issues in bankruptcy. The newsletter also contains promotional information about the lawyer, including board certification, date of admission to The Florida Bar, admission to courts, address, telephone number, information about the firm's building, and an invitation to call the firm regarding fee schedules and client references. The inquirer intends to use the same promotional material about the law firm in each issue of the newsletter, but will change the substantive articles regarding legislation and case law. The inquirer would like to know if each subsequent newsletter is required to be filed for review, together with the filing fee.

The Committee's opinion is that a copy of the first newsletter must be filed with the Committee for review, along with a filing fee, in accordance with Rule 4-7.7(a) [now Rule 4-7.19(a)], Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. This rule states that "any lawyer who advertises services through any public media or through written communication sent in compliance with rule 4-7.4 shall file a copy of each such advertisement with the standing committee on advertising for evaluation of compliance with these rules." The inquirer's newsletter constitutes a written communication that will be mailed to prospective clients under Rule 4-7.4(b) [now Rule 4-7.18(b)]. A copy of the newsletter must, therefore, be filed for review.

Under existing Committee policy, once an advertisement has been reviewed, it need not be refiled unless the advertisement is changed to incorporate new information beyond that set forth in Rule 4-7.2(c)(10) [now Rule 4-7.16]. 1 This rule describes the following information as presumptively permissible:


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For purposes of evaluating newsletters, only that portion containing information about his law firm represents lawyer advertising. Thus, changes to substantive articles containing no information about the law firm do not, standing alone, trigger the need to refile.

Based on the foregoing, following initial review by the Committee, the inquirer must refile his newsletter only if he adds new information about his law firm and the additional information is not presumptively permissible under Rule 4-7.2(c)(10) [now Rule 4-7.16].

[Revised: 02-19-2014]