Supreme Court Amends Rules Relating To Lawyer Approval Services
Instead of ‘lawyer referral service’, the new terminology that encompasses these online platforms and services is a ‘qualifying provider’. Some of the new requirements to the rule include that:
1. The qualifying providers may not require or pressure a lawyer to provide cross referrals,
2. They have to give participating lawyers the documentation of compliance with bar rules,
3. They must disclose the participating lawyers’ location by city, town or county when the referral is made, and
4. They may not use a name or otherwise imply to the public that the qualifying provider is a law firm, can practice law or that it directly provides legal services.
As listed below, some of the requirements, however, remain the same:
a. The advertisements for the qualifying providers must comply with the rules that apply to lawyer advertising,
b. Lawyers may not divide fees with qualifying providers (except for non-profit Florida Bar and voluntary bar lawyer referral services),
c. The qualifying providers must match consumers only to those authorized to provide the services in Florida,
d. They must use their actual names or registered fictitious name, and
e. They may not state or imply bar endorsement.
The concern regarding lawyer referral services (now known as qualifying providers) is that these services were taking advantage of clients. The bar has expressed its disapproval of this emerging practice in the past.
“Some companies that are affiliated with for-profit lawyer referral services steer clients towards other businesses operated by the owner of the referral service, sometimes to the detriment of the health and well-being of the client,” said the bar in a previous amendment to the rule. When attorneys and medical providers belong to the same referral service, they rely on each other for business and are therefore to refer one another to companies who belong to the service instead of a professional who could better treat their symptoms or handle their legal case, for example.
A legal expert from Shamis & Gentile, Managing Partner Andrew Shamis, says that the Law Firm is not a referral network and that they are always available to take on new clients.
“The Supreme Court is clamping down on referral networks, but this won’t affect our Law Firm in any way. We are available 24/7 and if clients need legal representation, then we are able to deal with them directly as opposed to referring them to another attorney,” says Managing Partner Andrew Shamis.
Shamis & Gentile, P.A. continues to provide outstanding legal services in Florida. The Law Firm distinguishes itself because of its experience and legal resources and is able to handle virtually any case involving personal injury, personal injury protection, class actions/mass tort, and contractual disputes.
Shamis & Gentile, P.A.
Shamis & Gentile, P.A.
14 NE 1st Ave, Suite 400,
Miami, FL 33132
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