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Florida Bar postpones enforcement of web rules

The Florida Bar is postponing its enforcement of the new rules governing lawyer websites. Those rules make the inclusion of past results, testimonials and “statements characterizing the quality of legal services” impermissible.

Confused about what this really means? Feel free to contact me for additional information.

June 14, 2010
Florida Bar Association

New rules on lawyer and law firm websites will not go into effect, and therefore will not be enforced by The Florida Bar at this time, under a June 10, 2010 order of the Supreme Court of Florida.  The Court granted the bar’s emergency motion to stay the effective date of amendments to the website rules.

The Court  adopted new rules regulating websites in November 2009.  Under the new rules, websites will be subject to the general advertising regulations set forth in Rule 4-7.2.  Websites commonly include information about past results, testimonials, and statements characterizing the quality of legal services, all of which would be impermissible under the new rules.  However, websites will remain exempt from the filing requirement under Rule 4-7.8.  In Re: Amendments to Rules Regulating The Florida Bar – Rule 4-7.6, computer Accessed Communications,34 Fla. L. Weekly S627 (Fla. Nov. 19, 2009), Case No. SC08-1181.

At the direction of the Supreme Court of Florida, the Florida Bar filed a petition on June 1, 2010 to adopt additional amendments to Rule 4-7.6 regarding websites, Case No. SC10-1014.  The amendments, if adopted, would provide a method by which a portion of the website would be considered information at the request of a prospective client and therefore not subject to subchapter 4-7 (the lawyer advertising rules) if specific requirements are met.

The Court’s order staying the effective date of the November 2009 amendments to the website rules makes those changes effective 90 days from the Court’s order in SC10-1014, which has not yet been decided. Lawyers should use this additional time granted by the Court to review their websites and make any changes necessary to bring them into compliance with the lawyer advertising rules.  Copies of the bar’s motions and the court’s order, as well as information on complying with the lawyer advertising rules, are available on the bar’s website underAdvertising Rules.

Tampa Bay public relations

What’s in a media story? The Legal Marketing Association’s June luncheon

I am so pleased to be moderating the media panel for the Legal Marketing Association’s June luncheon. Such a great panel of professionals!

What do editors want in a story?
How do I get my lawyers “on the list” as media resources?
Are press releases still relevant?
How do I approach the media with a story idea?
Do blogs and social media play a factor in public relations?

Join LMA Tampa Bay as we answer these questions and more at our June luncheon featuring a panel of media experts, including:

Alexis Muellner, EditorTampa Bay Business Journal
Alexis Muellner has been with American City Business Journals for more than 12 years. He was named editor of the Tampa Bay Business Journal in August 2004 after working in Miami for 14 years. Before the promotion, he was managing editor of the South Florida Business Journal, a post he held four years after serving as Miami bureau chief and an international trade reporter. Alexis is a Boston native. He earned a masters degree in print journalism from the University of Miami, and a BA from Hampshire College. His roots are really in public radio where credits include National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” “Weekend Edition,” “Crossroads,” and “Living on Earth.” His print journalism credits include the Miami Herald, Florida Trend, the New York Times, the Miami Daily Business Review, Quill and Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. For TV, Muellner hosted the “Business Journal Report” on the WB-39 in Miami for two years; and now, he appears every week on ABC Action News in Tampa and is a regular commentator for Bay News 9.

Scott Finn, News DirectorWUSF Public Broadcasting
Scott Finn is News Director at WUSF Public Broadcasting. Before this, he worked as news director and reporter/producer at West Virginia Public Broadcasting and statehouse reporter for The Charleston Gazette. Scott grew up in rural Iowa and received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He lives in Fish Hawk with his wife, Wendy and two children, Iris and Max.

Paul Abercrombie, PresidentAbercrombie Communications
Paul’s publicity placements have appeared in such media as CNBC, CNN, CBS, San Francisco Chronicle, International Herald-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. magazine, The National Law Journal, ABA Journal, Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Investor’s Business Daily, The Economist, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Paul’s writing work for clients includes feature articles, op-eds, speeches, and TV and radio advertisement scripts. He has co-authored The New Idea Factory, a nonfiction book about finding and financing university-born technologies for commercial uses, and has edited and ghostwritten other business books on behalf of clients.
Moderated by Ginger Reichl, President, Pinstripe Marketing
Ginger Reichl is the president of Pinstripe Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in promoting professional services firms. Her clients have been featured in major daily newspapers, magazines, and local and national television. As the former Advertising & Media Relations Director for Holland & Knight LLP, she managed the firmwide PR efforts during its growth from 450 to 850 attorneys and 18 offices during the late 90s.

If you have questions you would like the panel to discuss, please email us!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

11:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tampa Bay Business Journal
4890 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Suite 850
Tampa, FL 33609

Members $20
Guests $40

RSVP to LMA Tampa Bay Chair, Anne Zambrano.

Tampa Bay public relations

Marketing lawyers like toothpaste? Not so much.

As a professional communicator, I should have no problem explaining the difference between marketing products and services. And yet, I struggle with it every time I encounter a prospective client who expects the phone to ring off the hook with new business if he hires me.

You only need a lawyer when you need a lawyer. You only need a doctor when you need a doctor. You only need an architect when you need an architect. I cannot create the situations, I can only work to build name recognition, reputation, and illustrate differences – all within the confines of the rules and guidelines of professional ethics.

Bruce Marcus shares his thoughts in this article, Professional Services Marketing — What Works and What Doesn’t, where he makes clear distinctions between marketing lawyers and toothpaste.

I’ll be sending this link to the next potential client with unreasonable expectations.

Tampa Bay public relations

Legal Marketing Roundtable

roundtableMy team at Pinstripe Marketing and I are pleased to sponsor the May Legal Marketing Association luncheon roundtable.

While most of the organization’s luncheons feature an industry speaker, we often find that we get the most out of the discussions with one another. It is a challenge to stay on top of the changes going on at the Florida Bar, determining which lawyer rankings are worth the tremendous time and energy, how we’re addressing the ACC Value Challenge, RFP responses, event sponsorships and more.

All LMA Tampa Bay events are open to legal marketers, administrators, lawyers, and other professional services marketers.

Wednesday, May 12th
Lunch & Round Table Discussion
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A.
100 South Ashley Drive
2nd Floor Conference Room
Tampa, Florida 33602

 

Members – $20
Guests – $40

RSVP to LMA Tampa Bay Chair, Anne Zambrano.

Join LMA Tampa Bay on Facebook.

Tampa Bay public relations

Pinstripe Marketing President Presents Marketing Seminar for Trial Lawyers

I’ll be delivering my Online Reputation Management (ORM) presentation to the Trial Law Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association on Wednesday, May 12th.

Lawyers have a unique challenge when it comes to ORM and using social media. With the rules imposed by the Florida Bar and other professional codes of conduct, they have to be extremely careful with the information they post online. Although we certainly can’t cover everything (we could talk about it for weeks!) I’ll give a primer on a few online reputation monitoring tools and the basics of the most popular social media.

For more information about the luncheon, visit the St. Pete Bar.

Tampa Bay public relations