Friday, September 20, 2013

The Florida Bar Warns Lawyers Against LinkedIn Skills & Expertise

Florida lawyers should not list their practice areas under the header “Skills and Expertise” on LinkedIn, according to a September 11, 2013 advisory attorney advertising opinion.

In a letter to an undisclosed Tampa attorney, the Bar states that only board certified attorneys can use the terms “certified,” “specialist,” or “expert.” Law firms and non-certified lawyers cannot claim specialization or expertise in a particular practice area.

The Florida Bar cites a similar New York State Bar Association Opinion 972 in its ruling.

The Florida Bar will consider a corresponding legal marketing topic at its upcoming October 8th meeting.

In the meantime, the attorney who received the letter has 30 days to request a review by the Florida Standing Committee on Advertising.


There actually may be two separate but related issues at work here. One is simply the display of skills, like “Divorce Law” or “Insurance Defense Law.” The other issue is whether your network connections can then “endorse” you for your skills.

The Florida Bar appears to be saying not to list your skills in the first place. Further, there appears to be concern (separately) that the “endorsements” could be considered “testimonials.” The Florida Bar rules were changed recently to allow testimonials that meet certain guidelines.

Your LinkedIn Skills & Expertise section can be edited as follows:
- Go to Profile, Edit Profile
- Scroll down to the “Skills & Expertise” section, then
- Select whether to display or not display your endorsements


The finer points of social media marketing on LinkedIn and Twitter are still being addressed by The Florida Bar, so stay tuned!

See the story “LinkedIn Lawyers – Mind Your Language!” published on

Author Margaret Grisdela is available at 1-866-417-7025 or via email to answer your questions about legal marketing in Florida or other states. Let's connect on LinkedIn.