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Florida Proposes Changes to Private Attorney Referral Service Rules

A new bill in Florida would force some changes on the attorney referral services that are popping up. The bill applies to both legal and medical services.

Private lawyer and legal medical referral services would have to disclose financial ties to clinics and law firms to which they refer callers.

The bill states:

• A lawyer and medical referral service may not require its participating lawyers to refer patients only to doctors or clinics participating in the referral service as a condition of belonging to the service. Similarly, doctors or clinics may not refer patients only to lawyer members of the service.

• A medical clinic or health care provider may not exclusively make referrals to other medical facilities that the owner of the referral service has an interest in, unless all advertising for the service says that the referrals will be limited to those facilities.

• Medical referral services must prominently disclose in advertising if they refer patients to healthcare facilities that are not owned by physicians.

• There would be restrictions on referral service advertisements that generally track restrictions The Florida Bar places on lawyer advertising. Lawyer referral services would be required to follow all Bar advertising rules and to file their advertising with the Bar to ensure compliance with Bar rules. (Bar rules prohibit lawyers from belonging to referral services that do not comply with Bar rules, include rules regulating lawyer advertising.) Ads could not say an injured person would be entitled to a certain amount of damages “when there is no factual basis to suggest such monetary amount. . . .” Ads could also not promise specific results, use false testimonials, and must not be “false, misleading, or deceptive.”

• Referral services could not use images of law enforcement, emergency medical services, or the military in any way that would suggest a connection between the service and those entities. – Source

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • AlCapone

    http://1800flalawyer.com/blog/2011/06/13/regulating-for-profit-lawyer-referral-services/
    Here is details in regard to FL Legal Referral services that are For Profit. They need to ONLY refer to FL lawyers, only refer FL residents. Really, they simply need to be banned. Inherently they will be fee splitting- why else would they exist?

  • Boom-Body

    I know people realize there’s a lot of attorney models… But almost every company uses some type of attorney/referral relationship. Heck, look at CareOne… However, when creditors like Chase, Discover, American Express provide an advantage for DSC’s to use “lawfirms” to get better settlements, in only encourages a relationship. 

    • AlCapone

      I like your 2nd point but the statement “But almost every company uses some type of attorney/referral relationship” is not true of many companies- Renaissance, First Choice, Christian Debt Solutions, America Debt and many more are following FTC guidelines for real by simply providing a service that collects fees at settlement. These companies will actually help people! The ones using attorney models will end up in bad shape some day. The softer easier way has consequences, some soon some later but the piper will paid and at some point, the affiliate won’t.

      • boom-body

        Yea let me rephrase what I said… “Many companies uses some type of attorney negotiation”.. More specifically, the biggest players with the largest market share utilize it.

        As to the list of companies… sorry never heard of them. Renaissance who? American Debt? Boat loads of companies named “American…”

  • Boom-Body

    I know people realize there’s a lot of attorney models… But almost every company uses some type of attorney/referral relationship. Heck, look at CareOne… However, when creditors like Chase, Discover, American Express provide an advantage for DSC’s to use “lawfirms” to get better settlements, in only encourages a relationship. 

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