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Florida Supreme Court makes changes to lawyer advertising

The Florida Supreme Court today adopted the Florida Bar’s proposed comprehensive revisions to its advertising rules.

In an effort to make the rules more consistent and clear, there is no longer a distinction between the media used to communicate. The rules are the same for print, television, radio and online advertising. Unfortunately, this also eliminates the exemption for information “provided upon request”. While some forms of advertising and communication may be exempt from the filing requirements, all must comply with the rules.

Two justices dissented, another dissented in part, so there still isn’t consensus in how lawyer communications should be regulated. And there is still a group of Florida lawyers fighting the battle that it shouldn’t be regulated at all under the First Amendment. But these are the rules, and they go into effect on May 1, 2013.

We’ll be reviewing the changes along with our legal marketing colleagues and provide additional insight in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we recommend taking inventory of your law firm’s advertising and communications, including the web site, LinkedIn profiles, Google AdWords, directory listings, newsletters, and everything else you use to market your practice so you’ll be ready to make any adjustments to stay in line.

Here is the court’s opinion and the petition for proposed changes, as submitted by the Florida Bar.

Tampa Bay public relations