f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 7, 2004

Update: Fla. House Cripples Lawyer Advertising

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:29 pm

By a vote of 104 to 8, the Florida House passed the highly restrictive lawyer advertising bill we described and bemoaned in this space last month.  The Bill would make it illegal to advertise in “a manner that solicits legal business for a profit by urging a person to consider bringing legal action against another,” with “solicit” broadly defined to mean “to entreat, request or urge another to use the services of an attorney or a law firm.”   

This legislative broadside against lawyer ads succeeded overwhelmingly, despite opposition from bar groups (including p/i lawyers, the prime target of the Bill), and Staff Analysis raising potential free speech problems.  (pointer from sunEthics, 04-01-04)

No Solit gray small  The Staff Analysis contains a very good summary of the Bill and the changes it would make in currrent State laws for lawyer advertising.  It does not address the [bogus] issue of the legislative branch’s authority to make rules governing the regulation of lawyer conduct, which some lawyers had raised.

House Bill 1357 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee; no companion bill yet exists in the Florida Senate.  No matter what you think of lawyer advertising, the commercial speech issues raised, or the ability of consumers to deal with hyperbole in lawyer ads, the Florida Legislature’s attitude should cause worry among lawyers who regularly use advertising.   Here’s the statement of purpose in the H.B. 1357:

(1) The Legislature has determined that legal advertising that solicits business by urging a person to file a suit destroys the personal responsibility of individuals, fosters frivolous litigation, and demeans the judiciary and the practice of law. This form of solicitation has created a crisis in this state’s judicial system, thus creating a compelling state interest in the state’s limited regulation of advertising as set forth in this section.



!key neg  Mama Giacalone must have been lobbying feverishly behind my back (she does make a great pasta sauce).  There’s no other way to account for the inclusion of this most humble of weblogs in Bob Ambrogi‘s newest version of 60 Sites in 60 Minutes.  Thanks, Bob (and, Mom, too)!

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