Can the Bar Regulate Private Lawyer Referral Services?

That's the question raised by this interesting complaint filed by Greenspoon Marder senior partner Richard Epstein on behalf of the The Center for Legal Justice, and pending before Judge Middlebrooks:
What does explain The Florida Bar’s action against TCFLJ is a publicly aired animus by the State of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater against for-profit LRS and his intent to “ban the [private, for-profit] services.”

a. In other words, The Florida Bar has made a conscious decision to regulate where it has no authority to regulate, by targeting businesses it (and the State of Florida) views unfavorably, such as TCFLJ, for annihilation, all in blatant disregard of TCFLJ’s constitutionally protected commercial free speech rights and contractual relations.

b. In fact, The Florida Bar News reported that The President of the Bar publicly announced his intention to reign in private referral services, in favor of nonprofit lawyer referral services administered by local bar associations. That is, The Florida Bar is promoting its own lawyer referral services at the expense of legitimate commercial services such as TCFLJ.
BTW, the Center may or may not operate at, which is currently unavailable.


  1. I don't know anything about this center for legal justice, how fly-by-night the business might have been so I can't comment on their quality of work.

    However, on a broader level I don't think the bar can regulate private lawyer referral services. Even though they claim not to be regulating it, they are indirectly regulating it by preventing bar members from working with such companies.

    Companies such as Total Attorneys have (as far as I'm aware of) won every single suit thrown at them regarding the legality of for-profit lawyer referral services and it seems like this falls into that same category.

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