Lawyers in Florida can now advertise past results in their advertising. The rules prohibited using past results in lawyer advertising in indoor and outdoor display, television and radio. However, a federal court held that the state ethics rules were unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment.
The rules weren’t just thrown out. They were blasted out. Read Larry Bodine’s article at LawPracticeAdvisor to find out just how embarrassing this was to the Florida Bar.
The ruling was a devastating blow to the Florida Bar and every other state attempting to regulate lawyer advertising with many rules which often seem unconstitutional.
I frequently see hospitals and doctors advertising statements on TV which lawyers are prohibited from advertising. If they can do it, why can’t attorneys? I have speculated for years that ethics rules prohibiting lawyers from advertising freedom would little by little be struck down.
States are often afraid to enforce ethics rules against lawyers, for fear of losing, until their backs are against the wall and they have nothing to lose. When that happens, the result is usually in favor of the lawyers. This ruling is just one more loud victory for lawyers and commercial free speech.
When many ethics rules go unenforced, they lose all significance and eventually lawyers ignore them. I have often said and written that the state bars or grievance committees should simply stick to enforcing the FTC rules, Strict new lawyer advertising ethics rules proposed in New York. Will you have to redesign your ads? and Basic Ethics For Lawyer Advertising.