Thursday, March 8, 2018
The Florida Supreme Court has adopted new rules regarding lawyer referral services
Having considered the Bar’s proposals, the comments filed, the Bar’s response, and having had the benefit of oral argument, the Court adopts the amendments to the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar as proposed by the Bar. These amendments, though not consistent with our directive in In re Amendments to Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-7.22—Lawyer Referral Services, are necessary to ensure that all services that connect prospective clients to lawyers conform to the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar and operate in a manner consistent with the public interest. These amendments do not, however, resolve our concern with how some lawyer referral services operate in Florida, especially those that refer clients to other professionals and occupational disciplines for services arising from the same incident. The findings of the Special Committee on this matter are troubling and we continue to believe additional measures are needed to ensure the public is not exposed to harm. We therefore direct the Bar to submit a petition within ninety days proposing amendments to rule 4-7.22, and any other rule necessary, to implement the Special Committee’s first recommendation.
Accordingly, the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar are hereby amended as set forth in the appendix to this opinion. New language is underscored; deleted language is struck through. The amendments shall become effective on April 30, 2018, at 12:01 a.m.