What is the current status on Florida Lawyers Advertising with AVVO?
According to a recent Bar Board of Governors informational release and the January 1, 2018 issue of the Florida Bar News, the BOG Review Committee on Professional Ethics responded to a lawyer inquiry regarding the status of AVVO Advisor and unanimously recommended that the lawyer be advised that Avvo Advisor, which is described as “a private for-profit company’s online system for connecting potential clients to lawyers for 15-minute consultations for $39”, is a lawyer referral service under Florida’s rules.
The Board of Governors voted unanimously at its December 8, 2018 meeting to approve the committee’s recommendation and opinion.
As a for-profit lawyer referral service, AVVO Advisor will now be required to comply with Florida Bar Rule 4-7.22 or Florida lawyers will not be permitted to participate in the service.
Florida Bar Rule 4-7.22 requires that the services receive no payment that constitutes a division of fees, it must furnish or require lawyers to have professional liability insurance, it must affirmatively state in advertisements that the system is a lawyer referral service, and comply with the other requirements in the rule.
According to the BOG release, there are twenty-eight lawyer referral services which are current in their quarterly reports to The Florida Bar.