skip navigation

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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.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 4-7.6

[1] Advances in telecommunications and computer technology allow lawyers to communicate with other lawyers, clients, prospective clients, and others in increasingly quicker and more efficient ways. Regardless of the particular technology used, however, a lawyer's communications with prospective clients for the purpose of obtaining professional employment must meet standards designed to protect the public from false, deceptive, misleading, or confusing messages about lawyers or the legal system and to encourage the free flow of useful legal-related information to the public.

[2] The specific regulations that govern computer-accessed communications differ according to the particular variety of communication employed. For example, a lawyer's Internet web site is accessed by the viewer upon the viewer's initiative and, accordingly, the standards governing such communications correspond to the rules applicable to information provided to a prospective client at the prospective client's request.

[3] In contrast, unsolicited electronic mail messages from lawyers to prospective clients are functionally comparable to direct mail communications and thus are governed by similar rules. Additionally, communications advertising or promoting a lawyer's services that are posted on search engine screens or elsewhere by the lawyer, or at the lawyer's behest, with the hope that they will be seen by prospective clients are simply a form of lawyer advertising and are treated as such by the rules.

[4] This rule is not triggered merely because someone other than the lawyer gratuitously links to, or comments on, a lawyer's Internet web site.