Hello and welcome to this Ethics Alert update blog which will discuss the recent decision of the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors to uphold the Standing Committee on Advertising’s opinion that solo lawyers may use plural nouns and refer to themselves as “we”, “us” and “our” in advertisements.
As I reported in an earlier Ethics Alert, The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Advertising (SCA) voted in June 2013 to issue an opinion finding that solo lawyers are permitted use plural nouns to describe the lawyer’s practice. According to a recent Florida Bar News article, the Bar’s Board of Governors (BOG) met in July and declined to overturn the opinion of the SCA that a solo practitioner is permitted to use plural pronouns in his or her advertising.
The BOG’s decision is contrary to previous votes by the BOG stating that it was misleading under the Florida Bar advertising rules for sole practitioners to use plural pronouns in advertisements. The majority of the BOG agreed with the SCA that it was not misleading to use “we,” “us,” or “our” since it did not imply there was more than one licensed Bar member in the firm. The BOG Review Committee on Professional Ethics had voted to overturn the SCA opinion; however, the full BOG rejected the committee’s position.
Bottom line: The BOG vote supports and confirms the recent SCA opinion that lawyers who are sole practitioners may use plural nouns such as “we”, “us”, and “our” in advertisements and reverses the long term precedent prohibiting such words.
Be careful out there!
Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431
Clearwater, Florida 33759
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670