Florida Bar's board favors Web ad regulation

Floridabar Finally some good news about regulation of lawyer advertising:

The board for the Florida Bar has approved a proposed Web site advertisement rule, and it plans to soon take it to the Florida Supreme Court.

Website Rule 4-7.6 would allow lawyers to advertise their past results and statement characteristics concerning the quality of legal services through testimonials on Web pages that are just one click past the homepage, says Elizabeth Tarbert, who serves as the ethics counsel for the Florida Bar. Still, the lawyers' homepages must comply with traditional advertisement rules applied to print, radio and elsewhere.

To make the proposal official, the Bar will notify its members 30 days before filing with the Florida Supreme Court. The next step will be to collect comments from lawyers, which would be submitted along with the proposal to the court. Once the proposal is filed with the Supreme Court, lawyers are encouraged to send their comments directly to the court within 30 days.

The Web site rule can take as long as one year from the date it is filed with the Supreme Court to be adopted, says Francine Walker, the Bar's director communications. A timetable to file the proposed rule has not yet been determined.

If the Supreme Court approves the proposed rule, it would make Florida the first state to address lawyer advertisements via the Internet. The Florida Bar is the third largest in the United States with 80,000 members, 15,000 of whom practice outside the state.

"We have done what no other Bar has done, tackle [lawyers'] Web advertisement," says Charles "Chobee" Ebbets, chairman of the special committee that developed the proposed Web advertisement rule.

The rule has been under evaluation for a total of four years, says Henry M. Coxe III, president of the Bar's board. In 2004, an advertisement rules task force was established to evaluate lawyers' advertisement via the Web, and a year later, a special committee was established to evaluate the same concerns.

Thanks to my friend John Remsen of The Remsen Group in Atlanta for this tip from the Orlando Sentinel.

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Chuck Newton - April 5, 2007 10:58 AM
According to Larry Bodine's LawMarketing Blog, the Florida Bar is crowing that We have done what no other Bar has done, tackle [lawyers'] Web advertisement. Or, so says Charles Chobee Ebbets, chairman of the special committee that developed the propose...
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