A few days ago, I reported that the NY state bar association issued an opinion holding it would be unethical to participate in Avvo Legal Services. See here. Now comes news that the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors has decided to prepare an advisory opinion on whether lawyers could participate with a private lawyer referral service which charges a different set fee depending upon the type of case referred. Without mentioning it, of course, this description refers to the Avvo Legal Services scheme which has now been rejected in every ethics opinion that has considered the question.
The Florida Bar has in the past attempted to change the state rules to allow lawyers to participate in private referral services, but the Florida Supreme Court rejected the idea. In fact, it published an opinion on September 24, 2015 which instructed the Bar to draft rules that “preclude Florida lawyers from accepting referrals from any lawyer referral service that is not owned or operated by a member of the Bar.” Given this background it will be interesting to see if the Board of Governors attempts to revise its position or follows the lead of the Court. For more on the news from Florida go here.
For some of my previous posts on Avvo go here and scroll down.