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New Advertising Rules for Florida Attorneys

New Advertising Rules for Florida Attorneys
March 7, 2013
By: Alice M. Porch
Managing Editor, Tampa Bay
The Florida Bar has new advertising rules that begin on May 1.
The Florida Supreme Court revised the rules in an effort to balance consumer protection with the First Amendment rights of attorneys to advertise.
Below are some highlights of the new rules:
·         Almost all advertising needs approval from the Bar.
  • Exemptions to this new rule include:
  • Internet websites
  • Letterhead and business cards
  • Mailings to lawyers, current clients, and former clients
  • Legal listings (e.g. Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo)
  • Professional announcements
  • Sponsorship and charity donation announcements
  • "Tombstone Ads" (simple black & white text ads) for lawyer referral services

·         Websites are now classified as advertising.

·         Lawyers can refer to past results in their ads and characterize their skills, reputation, experience, or record using an “objectively verifiable” standard.

·         Testimonials are allowed in ads under certain specific restrictions.

·         Law firm names are allowed in the advertisement in addition to (or instead of) the name of the attorney.

·         All ads (except websites) containing more than basic “safe harbor” information requires a $150 review fee with the Bar at least 20 days before the initial broadcast or publication (only radio and TV ads needed approval prior to this new rule).

·         Restrictions continue to prohibit direct solicitation of clients and limit direct mail ads, such as not allowing mailings within 30 days for cases related to a personal injury or a wrongful death.

For more information about the new advertising rules, visit The Florida Bar.