As an inducement to better behavior, the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar will now contain the following pledge:
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.
Effective immediately, the ruling recognizes the importance of respectful and civil conduct in the practice of law. The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) played a role in the Court's decision, which also reflects a similar provision used in South Carolina.
The Code of Professional Conduct is not to be taken lightly in Florida. The Bar's scrutiny of attorney advertising is so strict that it is one of the few states in the country with a fee-based filing and review process for every advertisement (TV, radio, print, and billboard) and direct mail campaign used by a law firm (with only a few exceptions). Even lawyers not licensed in Florida, but who prospect for business in our Sunshine State, are subject to the legal marketing guidelines.
Read the full ruling of the Supreme Court of Florida, No. SC11-1702, dated September 12, 2011.
Read the ABOTA press release promoting the decision.