The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion A-99-1

June 2, 2000
Approved by the Board of Governors on June 2, 2000.
Advisory advertising opinions are not binding.
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

4-7.7(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:
(A) subject to the requirements of this rule and rule 4-7.10, the name of the
lawyer or law firm, a listing of lawyers associated with the firm, office locations
and parking arrangements, disability accommodations, telephone numbers, Web
site addresses, and electronic mail addresses, office and telephone service hours,
and a designation such as “attorney” or “law firm”;
(B) date of admission to The Florida Bar and any other bars, years of
experience practicing law, number of lawyers in the advertising law firm, and a
listing of federal courts and jurisdictions other than Florida where the lawyer is
licensed to practice;
(C) technical and professional licenses granted by the state or other
recognized licensing authorities and educational degrees received, including dates
and institutions;
(D) foreign language ability;
(E) fields of law in which the lawyer practices, including official certification
logos, subject to the requirements of subdivisions (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this rule;
(F) prepaid or group legal service plans in which the lawyer participates;
(G) acceptance of credit cards;
(H) fee for initial consultation and fee schedule, subject to the requirements
of subdivisions (c)(4) and (c)(5) of this rule;
(I) a listing of the name and geographic location of a lawyer or law firm as a
sponsor of a public service announcement or charitable, civic, or community
program or event;
(J) common salutary language such as “best wishes”, “good luck”, “happy
holidays”, or “pleased to announce”; and
(K) a lawyer referral service may advertise its name, location, telephone
number, the referral fee charged, its hours of operation, the process by which
referrals are made, the areas of law in which referrals are offered, the geographic


Refiling may also be required if the advertisement is to be used in different medium that
requires evaluation under different rules. For example, a yellow pages ad initially reviewed
under rules governing advertisements in the public print media that is later used in a direct mail
campaign must be refiled because it must be subsequently reviewed under rules governing
written communications.

area in which the lawyers practice to whom those responding to the advertisement
will be referred, and, if applicable, its nonprofit status, its status as a lawyer
referral service approved by The Florida Bar, and the logo of its sponsoring bar
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].