Florida Bar "Advertising Committee" is at it again
The Florida Bar's "advertising committee" must think that the public is just a bunch of morons unable to decide for themselves how to respond to words about lawyers.
According to the October 1 issue of the Florida Bar news, Florida attorneys are not allowed to ask former clients to go to Avvo.com and post a comment about the lawyer's services.
Never mind that the Avvo site is not run by the lawyer (and thus could not be a communication, at all, by the lawyer about services) and that the lawyer has no control over the content placed by the former client. The bar "advertising committee" says that this is the same as using a testimonial (more on that in a minute.) As Josh King, general counsel of Avvo noted, this is just like a prohibition against a lawyer even saying to a client, "if you think I did a good job, tell someone about it."
I'm firmly convinced this "advertising committee" in Florida wouldn't know the First Amendment if it hit them. What are they so afraid of???
First, the general prohibition against the use of testimonials in lawyer advertising clearly violates the First Amendment. (But hey, this is a state where it is deemed deceptive per se for a lawyer to say "Member of Florida Bar" since even though 100% factual--I kid you not.) The bar thinks the public is a bunch of morons. Imagine this... you run an ad in Florida and say you are a member of the Florida Bar... you could be disciplined.. crazy..
The Florida ethics rules for advertising suggest that the use of a testimonial might be misleading because it suggests an ability to achieve a specific result and "past results are no indicative of future results."
OK, this is true...but guess what....the public already knows this...and even if it were true you don't BAN speech when some less intrusive method would work--like how about a disclaimer that says "past results no guarantee of future results."