What are YouTube and 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 necessity.
Along with broadband internet connections, video-sharing websites have appeared. The most popular platform is Google’s YouTube. It allows anyone to watch videos, but only registered users may upload.
Why do attorneys and law firms use video sharing sites?
YouTube is the second largest when ranked against other search engines, the number of visits, and also social media platforms. The data show that YouTube has more views than Facebook and Netflix combined. Pew Research found that 73% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube.
Creating strategic content that people are looking for helps attorneys to stand out. When a video is about a user’s interest it increases by 3 times the chances of them 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 YouTube?
According to Florida Bar Rules for YouTube, 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.
To learn about the exceptions to filing requirements for advertisement read this other article.
Are there any Florida Bar Rules about sending YouTube videos?
Sharing a link to the video is a feature of most video-sharing sites. And lawyers should be aware that sending links to your videos is also subject to the lawyer advertising rules.
Compliance with rules for direct written solicitation under Rule 4-7.18(b) is required if the link is sent to someone who isn’t a current or former client, relative, or someone who had a prior professional relationship with the attorney.
Are these rules applied to any kind of content posted in video sharing platforms?
Videos posted only on video sharing sites are considered to be information requested by a prospective client and there is no need to file with The Florida Bar for review (Rule 4-7.20(e)).
This doesn’t apply to paid 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. You can review the text: Rules 4-7.19 and 4-7.20(a).
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 all the Florida Bar Rules for YouTube and other 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.