Florida law firm fights new online advertising

MIAMI HERALD – TALLAHASSEE – A prominent Florida law firm is challenging new state rules regulating attorneys’ advertisements on the web, saying the restrictions are a violation of free speech and are too vague.

In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Tallahassee, attorneys for the personal-injury firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley wrote that the new rules are “so overly broad they would have subjected Abraham Lincoln to discipline for stating, in an 1852 newspaper advertisement, that his firm handled business with ‘promptness and fidelity.’ ”

Searcy Denney challenged the rules, adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in January, after The Florida Bar decided that several of the firm’s Web pages did not meet the “objectively verifiable” standard required for all advertisements. Searcy Denney requested the Bar’s review of the sites before the rules went into effect in May, concerned that the firm would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to revamp its extensive website, blog and social media.


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Donna Balancia, Publisher
The Florida Law Journal