Solicitation Rule Amendments Under Consideration
The Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics recommend amendments to Rule 4-7.18(a) regarding solicitation. The amendments will be on the Board of Governors agenda for final action on December 4, 2015.
LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE RULE
The Supreme Court of Florida issued an order on September 24, 2015 in case number SC14-2126 rejecting amendments to Rule 4-7.22 (Lawyer Referral Services) that were proposed by The Florida Bar. The Court ordered the bar to propose different amendments to Rule 4-7.22 no later than May 24, 2016, which would prohibit a lawyer from participating in a lawyer referral service unless the service is owned or operated by a lawyer and which would address any other of the Court's concerns raised in its order. No amendments to Rule 4-7.22 have been adopted at this time. The current requirements for lawyer participation in lawyer referral services remain in effect unless and until the Court adopts amendments to Rule 4-7.22 in the future.
BOARD OF GOVERNORS ADOPTS NEW POLICY ON REVIEW OF ADVERTISING FILING
On March 28, 2014, the Board of Governors adopted a new policy interpreting Rule 4-7.19 regarding filing and review of lawyer advertisements. The new policy will go into effect on July 1, 2014. The policy is as follows:
- The Board of Governors policy regarding review of lawyer advertisements is that any change of any kind to an advertisement renders the advertisement a new advertisement with a new filing fee of $150 per timely filed advertisement and $250 per untimely filed advertisement. The only exception is a revision to an existing advertisement that is solely to comply with a bar opinion that the advertisement does not comply with the lawyer advertising rules, for which no additional fee will be charged. Any change includes, but is not limited to, any change to wording, illustrations, photographs, typographical marks, layout, or color scheme.
Proposed Advisory Advertising Opinion
Florida Advisory Advertising Opinion A-00-1 Modified by the Board of Governors
The Board of Governors modified Florida Advisory Advertising Opinion A-00-1 at its January 29, 2016 meeting. The opinion as modified concludes that a lawyer may solicit prospective clients through Internet chat rooms, defined as real time communications between computer users, only if the lawyer complies with the rules on direct written communications and files any unsolicited communications with The Florida Bar for review. Lawyers may respond to specific questions posed to them in chat rooms. Lawyers should be cautious not to inadvertently form attorney-client relationships with computer users.
Proposed Advisory Opinion A-12-1 Withdrawn by Board of Governors
The Board of Governors voted to withdraw Proposed Advisory Opinion A-12-1, which concluded that lawyers may not use techniques such as meta tags and hidden text on their websites in a deceptive manner, such as: “use another lawyer’s or law firm’s name without a proper purpose, a false representation that a law firm has an office in a particular location when the lawyer does not have an office at that location, or representing that a lawyer handles cases in an area of practice that the lawyer or firm does not practice.” The opinion also concludes that a lawyer may not purchase another lawyer’s name as an ad word. The Board of Governors determined that the proposed advisory opinion should be withdrawn because the BRC is of the opinion that the purchase of ad words is permissible as long as the resulting sponsored links clearly are advertising based on their placement and wording, and because meta tags and hidden text are outdated forms of web optimization that are penalized by search engines and can be dealt with via existing rules prohibiting misleading forms of advertising.
SC11-1327 Amendments To The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar-Subchapter 4-7, Lawyer Advertising Rules
Summary of Changes to the Ad Rules
Summary of New Ad Rules, Effective May 1, 2013.
Cross Reference Table - Old Ad Rules to New Ad Rules
Cross Reference Table - New Ad Rules to Old Ad Rules
HANDBOOK ON LAWYER ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION
The Handbook on Lawyer Advertising & Solicitation is an annual publication by the Standing Committee on Advertising. This handy reference gives general information on lawyer advertising, how to file advertisements with The Florida Bar, current rules regarding advertising and sample ads for reference. The handbook was updated on February 19, 2014 and includes the most recent amendments to the lawyer advertising rules. To obtain the full handbook, please download both the handbook (850 KB) and the sample advertisements (2.2 MB).
Attorney advertising rule Chapter 4-7 Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.
Lawyer advertising filing requirements
To assist Florida Bar members in filing their advertisements for review, staff of the Ethics and Advertising Department created cover sheets for your use that address many of the common omissions and questions in filing advertisements. You are not required to file the cover sheet with your advertisement. If you choose to use the cover sheet, we hope it will help expedite the review process. For information on which advertisements are required to be filed for review, please see Attorney Advertising Filing Requirements above. For your convenience, these forms are available in 2 formats: one you can print and fill out, the other you can fill in and save the completed form in your own system.
Coversheet For TV & Radio Advertisements (Word / PDF)
Coversheet For Print Advertisements (Word / PDF)
Coversheet For Direct Mail & Email Advertisements (Word / PDF)
Coversheet For Internet Advertisements (Word / PDF)
Guidelines for Social Networking Sites
Guidelines for Video Sharing Sites
Guidelines for an Attorney's Statement of Qualifications and Experience
Guidelines for a Law Firm's Statement of Qualifications and Experience
Guidelines for a Lawyer Referral Service's Statement of Qualifications and Experience
Bona Fide Offices
Quick Reference Checklist - T.V. & and Radio
Quick Reference Checklist - Print Ads
Quick Reference Checklist - Direct Mail
Quick Reference Checklist - Electronic Mail
Quick Reference Checklist - Internet Banner Ads
Quick Reference Checklist - Websites
Florida Bar Procedures for Issuing Advisory Opinions Relating to Lawyer Advertising or Solicitation (Revised by the Board of Governors on December 4. 2015)
Rules Regulating The Florida Bar: Chapter 15. Review of Lawyer Advertisements and Solicitations
Ethics Opinions on Advertising and Solicitation
Commercial Speech Doctrine
Standards for Lawyer Sanctions in Advertising and Solicitation Rule Violations
Advertise in The Florida Bar News, Journal and Website