Florida Bar Rule Changes That You Should Know
On November 9, 2009, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Case No. SC08-1181 that law firm websites shall be subject to the Florida Bar advertising rules. Rule 4-7.6 regulates computer-accessed attorney advertising such as websites, electronic mail, and other forms of computer-accessed communications. Furthermore, social networking sites will be held to these same rules and will be considered an “in-person solicitation” unless the person is a current or former client, relative or former client. This ruling took effect January 1, 2010, however, there is a six month moratorium on enforcement while the Bar develops enforcement guidelines.
What does this mean for your Florida Firm?
Law firms with Florida offices or lawyers admitted to practice in Florida, should consider a professional evaluation of their websites and marketing activities in order to adhere to these rules.
The bottom line is advertising, including websites and social media sites are to be accurate and not misleading to the public. Keep your message accurate, file your advertisements prior to posting to:
Ethics and Advertising Department,
The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street,
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300
As for websites there are three requirements:
- Shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law;
- Shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and
- Are subject to the requirements of rule 4-7.2. (General advertising regulations).