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Florida Bar adopts website ad regulation

After only four years, the Florida Bar Association has adopted regulations covering websites.

Elizabeth Tarbert, who serves as the ethics counsel for the Florida Bar, told the Orlando Business Journal that:

Website Rule 4-7.6 would allow lawyers to advertise their past results and statement characteristics concerning the quality of legal services through testimonials on Web pages that are just one click past the homepage. Still, the lawyers’ homepages must comply with traditional advertisement rules applied to print, radio and elsewhere.

Best I can tell from news reports, and Florida lawyers please chime in, the bar okayed testimonials but only on pages that are one click from the home page (what ever the heck that means) and that all the other ethics and ad rules that apply to all other advertising mediums still apply.

We still have at least another year to go for the rule to be official per Francine Walker, the Bar’s director of communications. Per the Business Journal:

To make the proposal official, the Bar will notify its members 30 days before filing with the Florida Supreme Court. [Still working on timetable to file the proposed rule.] The next step will be to collect comments from lawyers, which would be submitted along with the proposal to the court. Once the proposal is filed with the Supreme Court, lawyers are encouraged to send their comments directly to the court within 30 days.

Charles ‘Chobee’ Ebbets, chairman of the special committee that developed the proposed Web advertisement rule, boasts ‘We have done what no other Bar has done, tackle [lawyers’] Web advertisement.’

I’m not sure about that ‘Chobee.’ However, I would say that the Florida Bar Association has acted as silly, or sillier, than any Bar Association in the country in accomplishing so little in over four years – and counting.

Related post: Florida Bar okays testimonials on law firm websites