Bar board proposes to alter ad rules to allow spokespersons

first_imgBar board proposes to alter ad rules to allow spokespersons Bar board proposes to alter ad rules to allow spokespersons A dvertising attorneys could use nonlawyer spokespersons in their broadcast ads and also use some illustrations in all ads under new Bar rules being proposed by the Board of Governors.The board, at its February 1 meeting in Tampa, also okayed a minor change to the Clients’ Bill of Rights, clarifying that the lawyer may not pay the client or lien-holders from settlement funds without the client’s approval or an appropriate court order.All of the rule changes will be submitted later this year to the Florida Supreme Court as part of the Bar’s annual rule amendment package.The advertising alterations came at the request of the board, which asked the Standing Committee on Advertising to review the rules on television advertisements. While reviewing the rule on television advertisements, the committee also considered changes to the rules on illustrations and visual or verbal portrayals.The committee recommended keeping the restriction that only attorneys working for a firm could do the narration in a broadcast ad, that background sound continue to be limited to instrumental music, and that no celebrity image be used in ads, but recommended changing the television rule to allow illustrations permitted in other advertising media. On illustrations, the committee recommended allowing such things as the American flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, or a tool box. Prohibited would be shots of accidents, ambulances, and any image that “is deceptive, misleading, manipulative or that is likely to confuse the viewer.”The board’s Disciplinary Procedure Committee accepted those proposals, except that it recommended that non-attorney spokespersons be allowed as long as they are not recognizable celebrities and they are identified in the ads as a non-lawyer.The board approved the DPC package on first reading at its December meeting and gave final approval earlier this month in Tampa.The change to the Statement of Clients’ Rights for Contingency Fees came after a lawyer questioned a provision which told the client, “Until you approve the closing statement you need not pay any money to anyone, including your lawyer.”The lawyer noted there could be valid court-approved liens levied on the winnings in the case.As approved by the board, the proposed new rule would read that until the client approves the settlement agreement “your lawyer cannot pay any money to anyone, including you, without an appropriate order of the court.”On another rule change, the board approved the recommendation of the Program Evaluation Committee, also endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law, to extend the term of circuit UPL committee members from one to three years and sets a term limit of two consecutive terms. February 15, 2002 Regular Newslast_img

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