Florida Rules of Professional Conduct
If you violate any part of the Rules of Professional Conduct in Florida, you will be subject to discipline. These guidelines are extensive and can be complicated to understand. You should read through the applicable rules before you market your firm.
For example, if you state a claim that isn’t “objectively verifiable,” you may face disciplinary action. You want to ensure all of your marketing and advertisements can be backed by evidence. Florida Bar Rules have recently been criticized for being too harsh in this area.
Although Florida has the most restrictive attorney advertising rules in the country, a creative website marketing firm can help you approach your marketing plan in an effective and honest way.
Rules of Professional Conduct in Florida – Here is the complete list of the Rules in Florida.
Checklist for online advertising – Want to see if your website fits within the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct? Here’s a helpful checklist to go through.
Key Rules to be Aware of
RULE 4-7.13 DECEPTIVE AND INHERENTLY MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS
A lawyer may not engage in deceptive or inherently misleading advertising.
(a) Deceptive and Inherently Misleading Advertisements. An advertisement is deceptive or inherently misleading if it:
(1) contains a material statement that is factually or legally inaccurate;
(2) omits information that is necessary to prevent the information supplied from being misleading; or
(3) implies the existence of a material nonexistent fact.
(b) Examples of Deceptive and Inherently Misleading Advertisements. Deceptive or inherently misleading advertisements include, but are not limited to advertisements that contain: RRTFB July 23, 2021
(1) statements or information that can reasonably be interpreted by a prospective client as a prediction or guaranty of success or specific results;
(2) references to past results unless the information is objectively verifiable, subject to rule 4-7.14;
(3) comparisons of lawyers or statements, words or phrases that characterize a lawyer’s or law firm’s skills, experience, reputation or record, unless such characterization is objectively verifiable;
(4) references to areas of practice in which the lawyer or law firm does not practice or intend to practice at the time of the advertisement;
(5) a voice or image that creates the erroneous impression that the person speaking or shown is the advertising lawyer or a lawyer or employee of the advertising firm. The following notice, prominently displayed would resolve the erroneous impression: “Not an employee or member of law firm”;
(6) a dramatization of an actual or fictitious event unless the dramatization contains the following prominently displayed notice: “DRAMATIZATION. NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT.” When an advertisement includes an actor purporting to be engaged in a particular profession or occupation, the advertisement must include the following prominently displayed notice: “ACTOR. NOT ACTUAL [ . . . . ]”;
(7) statements, trade names, telephone numbers, Internet addresses, images, sounds, videos or dramatizations that state or imply that the lawyer will engage in conduct or tactics that are prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct or any law or court rule;
(8) a testimonial:
(A) regarding matters on which the person making the testimonial is unqualified to evaluate;
(B) that is not the actual experience of the person making the testimonial;
(C) that is not representative of what clients of that lawyer or law firm generally experience; RRTFB July 23, 2021
(D) that has been written or drafted by the lawyer;
(E) in exchange for which the person making the testimonial has been given something of value; or
(F) that does not include the disclaimer that the prospective client may not obtain the same or similar results;
(9) a statement or implication that The Florida Bar has approved an advertisement or a lawyer, except a statement that the lawyer is licensed to practice in Florida or has been certified pursuant to chapter 6, Rules Regulating the Florida Bar; or
(10) a judicial, executive, or legislative branch title, unless accompanied by clear modifiers and placed subsequent to the person’s name in reference to a current, former or retired judicial, executive, or legislative branch official currently engaged in the practice of law. For example, a former judge may not state “Judge Doe (retired)” or “Judge Doe, former circuit judge.” She may state “Jane Doe, Florida Bar member, former circuit judge” or “Jane Doe, retired circuit judge….”
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