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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

Florida Rules of Professional Conduct

COMMENT - Rule 4-7.1

[1] To assist the public in obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising. The public's need to know about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising that provides the public with useful, factual information about legal rights and needs and the availability and terms of legal services from a particular lawyer or a law firm. This need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who have not made extensive use of legal services. Nevertheless, certain types of advertising by lawyers create the risk of practices that are misleading or overreaching and can create unwarranted expectations by persons untrained in the law. Such advertising can also adversely affect the public's confidence and trust in our judicial system.

[2] In order to balance the public's need for useful information, the state's need to ensure a system by which justice will be administered fairly and properly, as well as the state's need to regulate and monitor the advertising practices of lawyers, and a lawyer's right to advertise the availability of the lawyer's services to the public, these rules permit public dissemination of information concerning a lawyer's name or firm name, address, and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer's fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; a lawyer's foreign language ability; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other factual information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.

[3] Regardless of medium, a lawyer's advertisement should provide only useful, factual information presented in a nonsensational manner. Advertisements utilizing slogans or jingles, oversized electrical and neon signs, or sound trucks fail to meet these standards and diminish public confidence in the legal system.

[4] These rules do not prohibit communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a class in class action litigation.

[5] These rules apply to advertisements and written communications directed at prospective clients and concerning a lawyer's or a law firm's availability to provide legal services. These rules do not apply to communications between lawyers, including brochures used for recruitment purposes.