Federal Court Throws Out Florida's Advertising Rules on Use of Past Results.


Court Throws Out Florida’s Lawyer Advertising Rules on Use of Past ResultsAs reported on Law Practice Advisor:

Blasting the Florida Bar, a federal judge threw out state ethics rules that ban the use of past results in lawyer advertising in indoor and outdoor display, television and radio media. The court held that the rules were unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment.

The landmark ruling on December 12, 2014, is a complete rejection of the Florida Bar’s obstinate efforts to suffocate lawyer advertising in a state with 68,500 attorneys. The court granted the plaintiff law firm’s motion for summary judgment, and went on to enjoin the Bar from enforcing Rules 4-7.13 and 4-7.14, which said use of past results is misleading.

The plaintiffs developed, at great expense, an advertising campaign featuring information regarding past recoveries for clients. The ads include a TV segment animated with a cartoon car accident, a courthouse and dollar signs drawn on a dry-erase board. With an attorney voice over, it depicts the words:

Gross proceeds. Results in individual cases are based on the unique facts of each. 

Ruling totally in favor of the law firm, the court ruled there is First Amendment protection for lawyer advertising as commercial speech. It noted that the ethics rules in 44 states impose no blanket restrictions on references to past results.

It noted that the US Supreme Court’s decisions involving commercial speech have been grounded in the faith that the free flow of commercial information is valuable.

For more, read Court Throws Out Florida’s Lawyer Advertising Rules on Use of Past Results.

This post originally appeared on Law Marketing Blog. Reprinted with permission

About The Author

Larry Bodine Larry Bodine has advised hundreds of law firms on marketing and business development over the last 14 years. He selectively accepts assignments from law firms that sincerely want to grow their practices. You can read his marketing advice on the LawMarketing Blog. He is the Director of Publications of The National Trial Lawyers and Publisher of The Trial Lawyer Magazine. Founded in 2007, The National Trial Lawyers is a leading destination for legal news for consumers. Previously, Larry was the Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com, the top online destination for finding and choosing a lawyer.

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