Special Committee on Website Advertising
The Florida Bar filed a petition on February 26, 2008, to amend the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, Rule 4-7.6 Computer Accessed Communications
The proposed amendments affect Rule 4-7.6, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Rule 4-7.6 governs computer-accessed communications such as websites, electronic mail, and other computer-accessed advertisements. Comments must be filed with the Supreme Court of Florida within 30 days from the filing date under Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. See the details on the Rules Updates page.
The Special Committee on Website Advertising Rules was appointed at the direction of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar in the wake of the board’s decisions regarding the proposals of the Advertising Task Force 2004. The Advertising Task Force 2004 recommended changes to virtually all of the lawyer advertising rules (4-7.1 through 4-7.11, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar). The board declined to adopt the task force’s recommendation regarding websites, which would have exempted websites from all of the advertising rules. The board instead approved a recommendation that would keep the status quo, while appointing another committee to continue studying the issue of how the lawyer advertising rules should be applied to websites, seeking input from various interested sections and committees of the bar. Status quo subjects websites to all the general advertising requirements set forth in Rule 4-7.2 with the exception of the prohibition against references to past results and statements characterizing the quality of legal services.
The special committee recommended that the Board of Governors adopt rule changes which would require that all websites comply with the general lawyer advertising regulations set forth in Rule 4-7.2.
At its January 26, 2007 meeting, the Board of Governors approved rules changes to be published for comment by Florida Bar members which require that the homepage of a website comply with the general lawyer advertising regulations set forth in Rule 4-7.2, and that the remainder of the website comply with the general lawyer advertising regulations set forth in Rule 4-7.2 with the exceptions of the prohibitions against listing past results, testimonials, and statements characterizing the quality of legal services. The proposed changes would require specific disclaimers if the website contains information regarding past results or testimonials.
At its March 30, 2007 meeting, the Board of Governors approved changes to Rule 4-7.6 to be filed with the Supreme Court of Florida with the Bar's biannual rules petition.
Mr. Charles Chobee Ebbets, Chair