Hello everyone and welcome to this Breaking News Ethics Alert blog to advise that the Supreme Court of Florida issued a split opinion today (January 31, 2013) adopting all of The Florida Bar’s proposed comprehensive revisions to the Bar advertising rules with a minor exception and a complete renumbering of the rules. Justices Polston, Lewis, LaBarga, and Perry concurred in the opinion, Justice Quince concurred in part and dissented in part, and Justices Pariente and Canady dissented and issued separate opinions. The Court’s opinion is In Re: Amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar-Subchapter 4-7, Lawyer Advertising Rules, No. SC11-1327. The opinion is at: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2013/sc11-1327.pdf. The comprehensive advertising rule amendments will become effective on May 1, 2013, at 12:01 a.m.
The only change that the opinion made to the comprehensive rules proposed by the Bar (beyond the renumbering) is as follows: “proposed new rule 4-7.13(b)(10) regarding the use of a judicial, executive, or legislative branch title by a current, former, or retired judicial, executive, or legislative branch official who is currently engaged in the practice of law. We have determined that the use of such a title is not inherently misleading if it is accompanied by clear modifiers and the title is placed subsequent to the person’s name. For example, a former judge may not state “Judge Doe (retired)” or “Judge Doe, former circuit judge.” However, she may state “Jane Doe, Florida Bar member, former circuit judge” or “Jane Doe, retired circuit judge.” We have modified the proposal and the accompanying comment accordingly.”
Bottom line: As I have discussed in previous Ethics Alerts, the revisions are comprehensive and will result in a sea change with regard to lawyer advertising regulation in Florida. I plan to send additional Ethics Alerts addressing each rule revision.
…and be careful out there!
Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431
Clearwater, Florida 33759
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670