Websites are a great place for Florida attorneys to market because they do not have to file the content with the Florida Bar for review (as you do with other advertising forms, including email and any type of online ads). While your website copy and materials do not need to be submitted, it still must be compliant with the state requirements found in Rules 4-7.12 through 4-7-17 and 4-7.21, within Chapter 4 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.
Key Compliance Tips for a Firm’s Website
Here is an abridged description of the requirements within the above subchapters:
Testimonials – If you use testimonials on your site, it is a violation to write or draft them yourself. You must include a disclaimer that clients may get different results. The person making the testimonial should be qualified to make it, and it should convey their real experience.
Actors & dramatizations – If your site includes actors or a dramatization of an event (regardless if it actually happened), you need a disclaimer. In the event of the former, the disclaimer could be, “ACTOR. NOT ACTUAL LAWYER.” If the former, the disclaimer could state, “DRAMATIZATION. NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT.”
Practice areas – You should only use the ad to present yourself within your current areas of practice.
Skills & reputation – An individual should be able to objectively verify (see below) anything you state about your firm’s or an attorney’s record, reputation, background, or skills.
Results – Any discussion of past results should only contain objectively verifiable information and should not omit any material facts.
What is Meant by “Objectively Verifiable”?
There are several references in the advertising rules to objective verifiability of information you state. Unfortunately, this concept is not specifically defined within the rules. Many Florida lawyers are concerned that they could discuss results of cases but fail to include all facts the Florida Bar might determine to be “pertinent,” then be found in violation for being misleading.
You can actually voluntarily file a page of your site (though not the entire site) for review with the Florida Bar. You do have to pay the typical $150 filing fee, but that would be a way to ensure the page is acceptable to the state if you are concerned about noncompliance.
Marketing You Can Trust
It can be difficult for attorneys to select marketing agencies, because they need to know they can trust the organization to ensure credibility and compliance. At Cyberlicious®, we know how important integrity is to our legal clients. In a review of us, Lakeland attorney Art Fulmer wrote, “I can rely on them to be honest and straightforward, which is absolutely necessary in my work.” We get results.