Florida Attorneys Now Allowed to Solicit You Via Text Message

Receive a speeding ticket? Get into a crash? Accused of a crime? Well, expect to have your phone blown up with text messages from Florida lawyers. That's because the Florida Bar Association recently removed its ban on lawyers soliciting potential clients via text. 

The American Bar Association officially bars lawyers from soliciting clients in person or over the telephone to try and drum up business. In its worst form this is commonly known as "ambulance chasing," in which personal injury lawyers would go to disaster sites or emergency rooms to find clients, but extend to all person-to-person solicitation.

State's individual bar associations, however, are left with the power on how to decide and enforce such rules, and the Florida Bar Association had previously reasoned that solicitation via text should be barred since solicitation via telephone is barred. Makes sense, but they've recently reversed their stance. 

See, solicitation via e-mail (and traditional mail) is perfectly fine, and the FBA now figure that a text is more akin to an e-mail than a phone call. 

"It's an adaptation to reality," Bar President Ramon Abadin told The Orlando Sentinel. "Most people communicate by mobile data devices that happen to be phones, too."

Thankfully, there's still a lot of restrictions on the texts that law firms can send. For example, all texts must start with the word "advertisement," and include the lawyer's credentials, information on how they got your number, and inform recipients to ignore the text if they already have a lawyer. In some cases, a firm has to wait a while to send the text. For example, they must wait 30 days after a car crash. Firms would also be responsible for covering any costs anyone incurs by receiving the text. 

Firms must also comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act which forbids companies from sending automatic texts without prior consent from the recipient. So, each text would have to be sent individually from an actual person. 

According to the Sentinel, many think these restrictions mean very few firms may end up using the method, but the FBA wants to be hip with the times and allow law firms to reach clients through a form of communication that is basically becoming the default among younger adults. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder