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Legal ethics regulators intellectually challenged?

Imagine a banner on an interior page of a website warning ‘If you reached this web page by other than clicking through the website’s home page, please return to the home page to indicate your consent to see this page.’ And a button on the home page of a lawyer’s website prompting users with a ‘Are you sure you want to look further to see information to help you evaluate this lawyer?’

Nuts? Yes. But that was the implication of a proposed legal ethics rule in Florida.

As reported by Law.com, Florida would only allow lawyer websites to include testimonials and statements about quality and results on interior website pages, not the home page, as ‘information on request.’ Internet users would consent to seeing this information by clicking through the ‘lawyer’s home page.’

Fortunately, it appears one of the Florida regulators explained to the others that people use Google to get exactly this type of information from lawyer websites. The proposal was turned down – on a close vote.

Florida’s regulators are not of the woods yet. Despite taking years trying to formulate legal ethics rules for the net, they punted with a tie vote a couple weeks ago. Now it’s up to the Florida Supreme Court, the final authority on legal ethics in the state, to decide what, if any, ethics rules should apply to the net.

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