The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org

RULE 4-7.22

4 RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
4-7 INFORMATION ABOUT LEGAL SERVICES

RULE 4-7.22 LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICES

(a) When Lawyers May Accept Referrals. A lawyer may not accept referrals from a lawyer referral service, and it is a violation of these Rules Regulating the Florida Bar to do so, unless the service:


    (1) engages in no communication with the public and in no direct contact with prospective clients in a manner that would violate the Rules of Professional Conduct if the communication or contact were made by the lawyer;

    (2) receives no fee or charge that constitutes a division or sharing of fees, unless the service is a not-for-profit service approved by The Florida Bar pursuant to chapter 8 of these rules;

    (3) refers clients only to persons lawfully permitted to practice law in Florida when the services to be rendered constitute the practice of law in Florida;

    (4) carries or requires each lawyer participating in the service to carry professional liability insurance in an amount not less than $100,000 per claim or occurrence;

    (5) furnishes The Florida Bar, on a quarterly basis, with the names and Florida bar membership numbers of all lawyers participating in the service;

    (6) furnishes The Florida Bar, on a quarterly basis, with the names of all persons authorized to act on behalf of the service;

    (7) responds in writing, within 15 days, to any official inquiry by bar counsel when bar counsel is seeking information described in this subdivision or conducting an investigation into the conduct of the service or a lawyer who accepts referrals from the service;

    (8) neither represents nor implies to the public that the service is endorsed or approved by The Florida Bar, unless the service is subject to chapter 8 of these rules;

    (9) uses its actual legal name or a registered fictitious name in all communications with the public;

    (10) affirmatively states in all advertisements that it is a lawyer referral service; and

    (11) affirmatively states in all advertisements that lawyers who accept referrals from it pay to participate in the lawyer referral service.


(b) Responsibility of Lawyer. A lawyer who accepts referrals from a lawyer referral service is responsible for ensuring that any advertisements or written communications used by the service comply with the requirements of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, including the provisions of this subchapter.

(c) Definition of Lawyer Referral Service. A "lawyer referral service" is:


    (1) any person, group of persons, association, organization, or entity that receives a fee or charge for referring or causing the direct or indirect referral of a potential client to a lawyer drawn from a specific group or panel of lawyers; or

    (2) any group or pooled advertising program operated by any person, group of persons, association, organization, or entity wherein the legal services advertisements utilize a common telephone number or website and potential clients are then referred only to lawyers or law firms participating in the group or pooled advertising program.


A pro bono referral program, in which the participating lawyers do not pay a fee or charge of any kind to receive referrals or to belong to the referral panel, and are undertaking the referred matters without expectation of remuneration, is not a lawyer referral service within the definition of this rule.

[Revised: 05/01/2013]