Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tampa Law Firm Sues The Florida Bar

Attorney advertising restrictions described as "severe and unjustified" are the basis of a lawsuit filed in USDC, Middle District, Tampa on 7/20/10 (#08:10-cv-01598).

The complaint, filed on behalf of plaintiff Cordell & Cordell P.C., further claims that The Florida Bar rules "prohibit certain categories of commercial speech in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, impose arbitrary restrictions on Plaintiffs' fight to communicate effectively with potential consumers, and are unconstitutionally vague."

The case dates back to July 2009, when the firm submitted nine radio ads to the Bar for approval. Seven ads were approved, but two were deemed to be not in compliance. In an unfortunate twist, the law firm advised the advertising agency that the two ads in question required revisions but the agency somehow aired the ads without making any changes.

The Florida Bar became aware of this alleged violation and initiated discplinary proceedings.

There are other issues at play here also, including charges that the Bar's initial letter was insufficiently specific.

As Florida legal marketers and attorneys well know, The Florida Bar attorney advertising guidelines are among the most strict in the country. This will be an interesting case to follow.

Cordell & Cordell PC is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with an office in Florida (and other states). The firm concentrates in helping men in divorce matters. Carlton Fields represents the plaintiff.

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