A divided Florida Supreme Court yesterday set forth new rules for advertising by lawyers: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2013/sc11-1327.pdf
Now all advertising rules apply to lawyer websites with the exception of filing/review requirements. “Websites are subject to the general lawyer advertising requirements in this sub chapter and are treated the same as other advertising media.”
Some highlights of the decision:
- Previously prohibited statements that characterize the quality of legal services being offered, information about past results and testimonials are now permitted.
- All advertising must be “objectively verifiable,” including website content. For example, a lawyer can say he obtained acquittals on all charges in four criminal cases, but simply saying an attorney has been “successful” may not be allowed. Making an entirely subjective claim such as being “the best trial lawyer in Florida” would be misleading and prohibited.
- If the attorney can show, by objective facts, that the statement is true, then he has presented an objectively verifiable statement in the advertisement. On the other hand, making a subjective statement such as “the best trial lawyer in Florida” is a misleading statement that fails to meet the requirement because it is neither objective nor verifiable. The advertising statement must be supported by verifiable facts.
- Testimonial disclaimers are required. The disclaimer must state that the prospective client may not obtain the same or similar results.
Update: The Florida Bar has released new advertising rules. Please visit our blog posts on the subject here:
- 12 Changes to Florida Bar Advertising Rules for 2013
- Florida Bar Website Advertising Rules: A Detailed Analysis of the Rules & Our Notes
- Florida Bar Advertising Rules on Posts to Twitter and Facebook Posts