First Amendment

Consumer Group Sues Over Fla. Bar's Client Testimonial Ban

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A consumer group has sued the Florida Bar on behalf of an attorney who was told client testimonials on a third-party website violated the state’s lawyer advertising rules.

The prohibition, which Boca Raton attorney Joel Rothman unsuccessfully appealed to the Florida Bar Board of Governors, prevents him from participating in the Avvo online legal directory because it solicits client testimonials, reports the National Law Journal.

Public Citizen filed suit this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida over the bar’s client testimonial restriction, contending that it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the legal publication reports.

“Reviews from past clients, whether positive or negative, can tell consumers a lot about a lawyer,” says attorney Greg Beck of Public Citizen. “Restricting this information makes it more difficult for consumers to choose which lawyer to hire. It also gives lawyers less reason to compete by providing high-quality legal services.”

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