This article provides key (abridged) considerations you can review as you are checking your banner or pop-up ads, prior to sending them to the Florida Bar for filing and review. For comprehensive guidelines, please see the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, Subchapter 4-7.
Expertise — A person viewing the ad should be able to objectively verify any references to the reputation, background, record, or skills of the attorney or firm. Specifically be careful about any mentions of expertise or specialty, as described in our email tips.
Emotional appeal — The banner or pop-up ad should express through rational means the fitness of the attorney to represent clients, rather than using emotional appeal.
Recognition — If you list any organizational recognition or membership within the ad, the entity must be bona fide, using selection criteria that are applied fairly and objectively.
Name & location — The name of the law firm or at least one attorney must be listed on the ad, except for cases in which a lead generator, matching service, directory, ad program, or referral service is responsible for the ad (in which case that organization’s name must be included). The county or city of the location of at least one bona fide office of the firm must be included.
No fee without a win — If the banner or pop-up says the attorney will not be paid except in the case of a recovery, the ad must make it clear whether any fees will be charged if there is no recovery.
Actors — If an actor is used in the ad to represent an attorney or other occupation, there should be a disclaimer stating, “ACTOR. NOT ACTUAL [occupation].”
Testimonials – If the ad contains any testimonials, they should not be given in exchange for anything of value. They should depict the true experience of the client and general experience of the firm or lawyer’s clientele. They should not have been drafted or written by the attorney.
3 standards of required information
Note that all the necessary disclosures or other mentions that must be made in the ad should meet three standards:
- Legibility — The information should be clear enough to read.
- Prominence — The information should be reasonably prominent.
- Same language — Key information should always be stated in the same language as the rest of the ad.
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