If It’s Not “Real Time,” Is It Solicitation? Florida to Reconsider Rule on Prohibited Solicitation

In light of the Florida Bar’s recent decision to permit attorney advertising by texting, the Florida Bar Board of Governors will review amendments to Florida’s solicitation rule at its meeting on December 4, 2015.

The proposed amendments focus on the definition of “real time” contact to clarify that a lawyer may not solicit “in person.” The proposed amendment not only adds the “in person” language, but also further defines “solicit” to include: “by electronic means that include real-time communication face-to-face such as video telephone or video conference.” Thus, the language expands “in person” by prohibiting attorneys from contacting prospective clients through means such as Skype, Face Time, or Google Hangouts.

The proposed amendment  incorporates the recent  texting decision by removing both telegraph and facsimile from the language as well as the phrase, “includes any written form of communication, including any electronic mail communication, directed to a specific recipient . . . ,” from 4-7.18(a)’s definition for “solicitation.”

Some view the changes as a signal that the Florida Bar is attempting to adopt advertising amendments that embrace the digital age…

Read the proposed amendments to Rule 4-7.18(a) here.

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