Florida Bar Rules on Advertising – New Rules & Report

Update:  The Florida Bar has released new advertising rules.  Please visit our blog posts on the subject here:

The Florida Bar Board of Governors approved new lawyer advertising rules to be filed with the Supreme Court of Florida on or about July 5, 2011. The final report of the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics provides information on the bar’s study on this issue. The 2 column format sets forth the text of the proposed rules in legislative format with a brief explanation of each change.

The Supreme Court of Florida has issued a revised opinion amending the rules regulating lawyer advertisements over the Internet. Websites will be subject to the general advertising regulations set forth in Rule 4-7.2. Websites will remain exempt from the filing requirement under Rule 4-7.8. The jurisdictional disclosure requirement will no longer be required on the homepage, but will be required to appear on the website. Requirements for direct e-mail will be reinstated: a statement of qualifications will be required and a disclosure if a lawyer other than the one whose name appears in the advertisement will handle the matter will be required. Direct e-mail also will be required to begin the subject line with the statement “legal advertisement.” The changes will be effective 90 days from the Court’s order in SC10-1014, which has not yet been decided. In Re: Amendments to Rules Regulating The Florida Bar – Rule 4-7.6, Computer Accessed Communications , 34 Fla. L. Weekly S627 (Fla. Nov. 19, 2009), Case No. SC08-1181.

At the direction of the Supreme Court of Florida, the Florida Bar filed a petition on June 1, 2010 to adopt amendments to Rule 4-7.6 on Computer Accessed Communications . The amendments in case number SC10-1014 , if adopted, would provide a method by which a portion of the website would be considered information at the request of a prospective client and therefore not subject to subchapter 4-7 (the lawyer advertising rules) if specific requirements are met. The Florida Bar also filed an emergency motion to request a further stay of the effective date of the amendments to Rule 4-7.6 in SC08-1181. The Court issued an order, granting the bar’s motion to stay the effective date, which will be 90 days from the Court’s order in SC10-1014, which has not yet been decided.

 

Thanks to our client at Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, P.A. for the analysis and update.


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