Florida Amends Referral Rules to Include For-Profit Online Sources
What's Going On Exactly?Basically, as a result of a 2012 investigation, the state supreme court sought to shut down for-profit, and online, legal referral and directory services by prohibiting lawyers from accepting cases through these types of services. One of the more prominent issues was that these types of services were generally not run by Florida attorneys, and hence, could not come within the regulation of the state bar. Naturally, this results in ethical concerns over the protection of the profession and the consumer public, including improper solicitation, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and even the unlicensed practice of law. The new rules now allow these services, which have continued to proliferate thanks to rapid advances in technology, to be brought within the reach of the state bar's regulation by requiring each type of service to become a "qualified" provider. By doing so, the bar can require the providers disclose the same sort of information more traditional qualified providers, like non-profit groups and associations, have been required to submit. The new rule also requires that qualified providers maintain malpractice coverage.
Lawyer/Doctor Combo Referral ServicesNotably, the new rules currently leave one referral source in limbo. Apparently, there are a couple services that will refer legal consumers to both an attorney and a doctor. Fortunately for these services, the door has been left open, as the state's high court is asking the bar to come back within 90 days with a proposal for these types of services. Related Resources:
- False Lawyer Advertising: Close but No State Bar (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Is Facebook Live Good for Free Attorney Marketing? (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Lawyer Sues Client Over Bad Yelp Review (FindLaw's Strategist)
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