Kevin O’Keefe points out that the Florida Bar took four years to propose a new rule regulating attorney web sites. Of course, we’re only hearing about this rule from a news article, so the actual text of the rule may differ. But, seriously, four years of brainstorming and the best they can come up with is 1-click?From the Orlando Business Journal:
Website Rule 4-7.6 would allow lawyers to advertise their past results and statement characteristics concerning the quality of legal services through testimonials on Web pages that are just one click past the homepage.
Now, lawyers being lawyers, we really need to see if the Florida Bar also defined “advertise their past results” and “homepage,” assuming this is how the proposed rule is worded.
- Advertise Their Past Results. If you’re thinking this rule only applies to personal injury lawyers that list the millions of dollars that they have recovered for their clients, think again. Take a look at White & Case, which incidentally has a Miami office. Their “homepage” includes a news column which currently includes the following bullet points: (1) Bridgepoint in £360 Million LBO of Fat Face and (2) First Ever Public RMBS Securitisation by Ukrainian Bank. Sure, this isn’t exactly “$10 Million for SUV Rollover,” but isn’t this an advertisement of their past results or are press releases different. Because, I’m sure the personal injury attorney could just as well add a new column that includes press releases of their verdicts and settlements. Not so clear cut now, eh?
- Homepage. I want to see how the Florida Bar defines a homepage. Is it the web page that is labeled “home”? Or, is it the first “web page” that you see when you type in a domain name? What if a law firm initially displays one of those Flash graphics with text zooming back and forth, which prompts you to click to enter? Is that the “homepage”? What if your website has one or more sub-domains? Is each sub-domain an individual website with their own “homepage”? Probably the most pointless part of the 1-click rule is that people “Google” now instead of “Yahoo.” Instead of a web directory taking you to the “homepage,” a search engine takes you to the most relevant page for your search query. So, even if your testimonials are “1-click” from the “homepage,” Google might take you directly to a testimonial page, completely bypassing the “homepage.” What’s the point of the rule then?