Florida Bar Rules for YouTube

What are video sharing sites?

Over the years the way of producing and consuming content has changed a lot, mostly when it comes to the internet. Along with text and image sharing, video sharing is a reality. And that’s where the video sharing sites appear. 

At these sites, users can view, upload, and share their videos. The most known is Google’s youtube, the 2nd when it comes to search engines. Where anyone can watch videos and share their links, but only registered users are able to upload videos.

Why do attorneys and law firms use video sharing sites?

The statistics of video sharing sites are impressive. Youtube is the second largest when it comes to search engines, the number of visits, and also social media platforms. Besides that, it has more views than Facebook and Netflix combined. According to Pew Research, 73% of adults in the U.S. use youtube. 

Creating strategic content that people are looking for help attorneys to stand out. When a video is about a user’s interest it increases 3 times the chances of he watching it, rather than if it has a famous actor in it. People are keen on consuming good content that helps them. 

How should lawyers use them?

If the topic of the video is unrelated to the practice of the law, it’s not subject to the lawyer advertising rules. However, if the video is promoting the lawyer or their firm, it is considered subject to the lawyer advertising rules and should comply with all the regulations outlined in Rules 4-7.11 through 4-7.18 and 4-7.21.

How specific should the video content be?

The content can’t refer to past results that are not objectively verifiable, predictions and guarantees are also forbidden along with testimonials that don’t comply with the requirements listed in Rule 4-7.13(b)(8). 

Any skill, reputation, experience, or record stated on the video should also be objectively verifiable. To comply with all the requirements, lawyers should review the Handbook on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation on the Florida Bar website for further information.

Are there any rules about whom to send the videos?

Sharing a link to the video is a feature of most video-sharing sites. And lawyers should be aware that links are it’s also subject to the lawyer advertising rules. 

If the link is being shared with people who are not current or former clients, relatives, or have has a prior professional relationship with the lawyer with the purpose of obtaining or trying to obtain or solicit, legal business then it must comply with requirements for direct written solicitation under Rule 4-7.18(b).

Are these rules applied to any kind of content posted in video sharing platforms?

Videos posted only on video sharing sites are considered by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) as information requested by a prospective client and there’s no need to file fill with The Florida Bar for review. Rule 4-7.20(e). 

That doesn’t apply to advertisements posted on these sites, which is subject not only to the requirements of Rules 4-7.11 through 4- 7.18 and 4-7.21 but also must be filed for review unless the content of the advertisement is limited to the safe harbor information listed in Rule 4-7.16. See Rules 4-7.19 and 4-7.20(a). 

Conclusion

Adapting to the world’s changes are highly desirable, but ethics and good practices should be present in lawyers’ lives everywhere. It takes time to build a strategy that is in compliance with according to all the regulations, but it’s an effort that pays off when you have a system that is working and making more people be aware of what you can do for them.