FL Ad Rule applies to ALL forms of communications in ANY PRINT OR ELECTRONIC FORUM - includes seeking legal employment [hiring]
Websites, social networks = same as TV and NEWS ADS
1) WEB/TV ADS
**** FL Ad rules apply ONLY regulate FL BAR MEMBERS - applies to portions of a multi-state firm website that directly relates to legal services provided by a member of the firm who IS a member of the FL BAR or that relates to legal services in FL.
**** N/A TO ADS BROADCASTS IN ANOTHER STATE - even if a member IS from FL Bar - so long as ad is not broadcast in FL or targets FL residents.
2) PAID COMMERCIAL ADS
*** Rule N/A to NATIONAL media ads IF disclaimer "Cases not accepted in FL" is plainly noted in ad.
*** Rules DO apply to lawyers not admitted in FL who TARGET FL RESIDENTS
3) SEEKING EMPLOYMENT IN FL
*** Lawyer need to be admitted in FL
*** Exception - Non-FL Lawyers CAN advertise in FL as part of CLASS ACTION suits pending in another state.
4) LOCAL NEWSPAPER ADS
All ads must include:
*** Name of at least ONE LAWYER or the name of the law firm responsible for the ad content.
*** City, town, or county of ONE or more OFFICE
*** Office location must be BONA FIDE [can state that lawyer is available at satellite office]
*** Disclose if cases are referred to another law firm
5) SUCCESS ADS
*** CANNOT be deceptive or inherently misleading.
*** CANNOT contain material statements that is factually or legally inaccurate
[Over 20 yrs. of experience - in reality 10 lawyers w/2 yrs. of experience each]
*** CANNOT predict or guarantee success or specific results.
*** CANNOT refer to past results - unless verifiable.
*** CANNOT include comparisons to skills, experience, reputation, or record of other lawyers - unless verifiable.
*** CAN include attributes - "honest, trustworthy, aggressive, my goal is..., I strive to..., I am dedicated to...." and areas of practice.
6) TV DRAMATIZATIONS
*** Dramatizations of an actual or fictitious events MUST DISPLAY WORDS "Dramatization. Not an actual event."
*** NO statements of improper tactics allowed -
[1-800-PIT-BULL implied violence]
*** NO Judges, law enforcement, or authoritative figures [recommending or endorsements]
*** Actors must be identified as actors.
*** CANNOT say ad was approved by FL Bar.
*** CANNOT use images, sounds, videos, or dramatizations designed to appeal to EMOTIONS instead of displaying lawyer's suitability to represent prospective client.
*** NO celebrity voices or images - except of local announcer, DJ, or radio personality who regularly records ads - so long as announcer does not endorse or offer a testimonial.
*** NO offerings of economic incentives - but can say "Free Consultations" and "Discounted Fees'
*** Testimonials must be from actual experience, representative of what clients firm generally handle, cannot be written or drafted by lawyer, cannot pay client giving testimony, must include disclaimer that it may not result in same or similar results.
*** Truthful testimonial by past clients re: courtesy & promptness - OK
Scales of justice; Medications linked to adverse side-effects; X-ray of a damaged lung; Person in jail; Person on crutches; Damaged car; F/C sign on house; Person in front of bills; Gavel; Lady Justice; Statute of Liberty; FL flag; Eagle; Law Books; Courthouse; Columns; Diploma; Lawyer in front of plain background.
ILLUSTRATIONS NOT ALLOWED:
Graphic personal injuries; Crying child; Tricky insurance adjuster
*** CAN be identified as a Specialist IF CERTIFIED by the FL Bar.
*** If ad includes fee - must be honored for at least 90 days - unless stated otherwise & must disclose whether client is responsible for expenses.
Honors - OK - If verifiable
Date of Admission
FL Bar positions
Former employment w/military service
Foreign language ability
Acceptance of credit cards
Common salutary language - "best wishes" and "proudly service our community"
*** Any lawyer who wishes to advertise in FL must file with the FL Bar a copy of the ad at least 20 DAYS PRIOR to publication.
*** If bar does not respond within 15 days - lawyer cannot be disciplined for improper ad.
*** Lawyer can also request advisory opinion for future ads.
*** Pre-filing NOT REQ. for brief announcements that identify the lawyer as the sponsor of a charitable event