Florida Bar gets it right with social networks

The 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 Florida legal marketing community about client testimonials – those that appear in directories like Avvo and social networks like LinkedIn.

The rules on Florida legal 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!