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Lawyers: Post successes at your own risk

The Florida Bar has thrown a monkey wrench into legal marketing once again. Web sites have been treated as ‘information upon request’ for years, but the Supreme Court has decided that they must now comply with the advertising rules. Recognizing some of the confusion the new rule has caused, the Bar requested a six month moratorium on enforcement.

So what does it mean? For most firms, it simply means that any statements about results or client testimonials must either be removed, or put in an area where a visitor must read a page or pop-up that explains the type of information they’ll be viewing. If it includes verdicts or testimonials, the page must include a ‘past results are not necessarily representative of future results’ disclaimer.

To help with the transition, the bar has prepared these guidelines and a sample disclaimer.

Thank goodness the public is now safe from reading information that might actually help them select a good attorney.

Tampa Bay public relations

Law Marketers Win Key Ruling with Florida Bar Settlement

Ginger Reichl comments on the Bar’s decision to exempt online directories and social media sites from the advertising rules and treat them as ‘information upon request.’

See the full article here.

Tampa Bay public relations

Florida Bar gets it right with social networks

networkThe Florida Bar Association surprises me on a regular basis… but rarely in a good way. Over the last couple years, there has been a lot of discussion in the legal marketing community about client testimonials – those that appear in directories like Avvo and social networks like LinkedIn.

The rules on advertising prohibit testimonials, statements of past results, and commentary on the quality of service. However, by nature, the directories and social networking sites collect unsolicited comments by clients with little or no control by the lawyer.

Here comes the shocker. Today, the Florida Bar agreed to exempt those sites from the rules and are considering the content ‘information upon request.’ This is very good news for lawyers, as online client-generated content, reviews and recommendations begin to supplement the traditional referral.

I’m not anticipating a flood of new LinkedIn profiles from lawyers, but this decision finally removes the doubt and confusion associated with its use.

Now I can focus on training them how to use the tools effectively!

Tampa Bay public relations

Legal Marketing Mini-Conference

Legal Marketing Tampa BayThe Southeast chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is hosting a regional conference next month and time is running out to register. Early bird registration ends on July 31. You can register and find more detailed information here.

Orange County Bar Association, Orlando, Florida
August 14, 2009
9 am to 4 pm

Program topics include:

 

  • Taking the ACC Value Challenge A Step Further: Creating the Ultimate Client Experience, moderated by Deborah Knupp, Partner of Akina, with local managing partners.
  • The Boundaries of Promoting Legal Services with Will Hornsby, Staff Counsel of the American Bar Association.
  • Making a Sales Culture Out of Your Law Firm with Chris Fritch, Client Development Consultant at Clients First Consulting.
  • Using Web 2.0 and Social Networking as Part of Your Business Development Arsenal with Sue Remley, Senior Marketing Consultant at Jaffe Associates.

Please note that the program has been approved by The Florida Bar for 5.0 hours of general CLE credit, including 1.0 hour of ethics credit.

The current price for our one-day event is only $99 for LMA members and $149 for non-members. However, due to high demand and limited space, we can only offer this great rate for a short time. Early bird registration ends on July 31. After July 31, the price to attend will be raised to $129 for members and $179 for non-members. This includes programming for the day, lunch, materials and CLE credit (where approved). Each event will also be followed by a networking reception and happy hour!

Please be advised that there will be no refunds after 10 business days prior to each event. All refunds are subject to a $25 processing fee.

We are planning a carpool from Tampa. Contact Kim Brannan, LMA Tampa Bay Program Chair for more information.

Tampa Bay public relations