July 21, 2010 – While the Internet is a huge boon to free speech and your first amendment rights, your state bar may still have something to say about your website content.
The latest state to pass new bar rules for law firm websites is The Sunshine State, and the Florida lawyers aren’t one bit happy about them. The rules are facing criticism from not only the law firms that do business in the state, but also other groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and even the Federal Trade Commission.
The new rules share a common theme: banning deceptive, manipulative, confusing, or misleading audio and visual materials, online testimonials and discussions of case results. The Daily Business Review reports that this violates the First Amendment.
The new rules were set to go into effect July 1st, but facing the likelihood of a slew of lawsuits, they’ve postponed the new laws until August 16th. During this time, the Florida bar administration is taking comments about the new laws.
While some firms are battling against the state bar requirements, other firms are preparing for compliance with the new regulations. Some law firms have hired marketing consultants to help them cope with the new restrictions. The tactics include having disclaimer pages before viewing their website, asking visitors to agree that they are aware of certain types of content.
Many lawyers argue against the use of disclaimer pages, citing that most visitors are turned off by the “extra step” involved when trying to access a law firm’s website. The fear is that many potential clients will be turned off from using the firm’s website as a source of information and contact if it’s too difficult to get access to.
Staying compliant with your state bar’s legal advertising regulations is important when developing your law firm’s legal marketing strategies. At We Do Web Content we make sure that we research your state’s regulations for what can and cannot be said in the custom content we produce for for your website, newsletters, and social media.
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