1/31/13 Florida Supreme Court opinion adopts and implements all of The Florida Bar’s proposed comprehensive advertising rules with one minor exception

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



About jcorsmeier

Joseph A. Corsmeier is an “AV” rated attorney practicing in Clearwater, Florida. He concentrates his practice primarily in the areas of defense of attorney disciplinary matters before The Florida Bar, attorney admission matters before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and professional license and disciplinary matters before the Boards of the State of Florida. He provides expert analysis and opinion on conflict of interest and other attorney disqualification and legal malpractice issues and he testified as an expert in the Florida courts. He served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit from 1986 to 1990 where he prosecuted felonies exclusively from June 1987, and as Bar Counsel for The Florida Bar’s Department of Lawyer Regulation from 1990 to 1998. He also practices in the areas of estate planning and Medicaid qualification, workers’ compensation, and labor law. Mr. Corsmeier is the author of numerous articles for various bar publications, has spoken at numerous local and statewide seminars on various topics, including ethics and professionalism, and was an instructor of legal ethics for paralegals at Rollins College until the Tampa campus closed. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his J.D. from Mercer University. He is admitted to practice in all Florida Courts, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Middle District of Florida. He is a member of The Florida Bar, American Bar Association, the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Associations.
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