Should the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Prohibit others from Advertising in their publications?

As our earlier update announces, Stephens’ Squibs Monthly Family Law CLE – Season 2 is now open for registration.

To our disappointment, we have learned that despite assurances otherwise, the Center for Child Counseling is still banned from advertising in any Family Law Section Publication.

We have asked the current Executive Committee for any minutes or authority that would support this “ban” and they have yet to respond.

It has been explained to me that we are “competing” with their CLE’s which is the “cause” of the ban.

Ironically, they have allowed other organizations to advertise their CLEs.

Our series is totally different then anything the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar has ever produced.

-It is a monthly subscription

– It reliable is available EVERY month

– It’s not an audio/powerpoint presentation, you get full video

Even if it did compete, so what?

Why not promote educational opportunities for lawyers, especially ones of this caliber.

Should the The Florida Bar really be restricting advertising because it is perceived they compete with section CLE’s? How petty. So I would ask the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar to eliminate this silly, unauthorized advertising ban.

We should be supporting each other. Not erecting obstacles for attorneys to be well informed.

The current section chair previously appeared to clear the ban with this email:


From: Heather L. Apicella
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2021 3:15 PM
To: Eddie Stephens
Cc: Sarah Sullivan; Anya Cintron Stern, Chair@familylawfla.org; chair-elect@familylawfla.org; treasurer@familylawfla.org; secretary@familylawfla.org; Douglas Greenbaum
Subject: RE: Family Law Section Advertisement

Hi Eddie,

As you may know, I was sworn-in on June 9th as the Chair of the Family Law Section. I am excited about my new role and I am working to get things in place for my term (which effectively starts on July 1st – which is the Bar’s fiscal year). I have met with the Publications Committee Chairs for my Bar Year (Sarah Sullivan and Anya Citron Stern) and I will be meeting with the Executive Committee next Friday regarding all advertisement formats we will be offering. We are working on the terms of the Agreement between the FLS and the Advertisers in all publication formats. With this said, I know you want to start advertising the “Monthly Family Law CLE” ASAP.

I want you to know that I have not forgotten about your request. I will circle back regarding the advertisement space, cost, etc., once I have the necessary information to provide to you. I look forward to working with you this upcoming year!  

Best,

Heather


However, when we submitted our ad request, we received this response:


From: Heather L. Apicella
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 11:52 AM
To: Eddie Stephens
Cc: Sarah Sullivan; Caryn Stevens; Anya Cintron Stern; Chair@familylawfla.org; chair-elect@familylawfla.org; treasurer@familylawfla.org; secretary@familylawfla.org; Douglas Greenbaum
Subject: RE: Family Law Section Advertisement

Hi Eddie,

Executive Committee met and is concerned that any advertisement for any CLE will compete with the Section. Given that this impacts many people/advertisers, Executive Committee determined that it is necessary to take this issue before Executive Council during our live meeting in August to address it.  I understand your desire to immediately advertise. I welcome your input on this issue and certainly hope you are able to make it to the Executive Council meeting  – as you are a potential advertiser, I think it would be great for the Council to hear from each perspective.

Best,

Heather



I truly believe the current section chair wants to do do the right thing. However, it appears those who put her in leadership, refuse to allow her to lead the section. It is my opinion that the current chair would not have broken her promise but for the pressure exerted upon her by the Family Law Section EC

I will be travelling to the next Family Law Section EC Meeting across the state of Florida on August 28, 2021 to meet with them and respond to any queries they may have.

These silly politics are the exact reason I have refused serving the Family Law Section EC despite being asked many times.

Frankly, I think this is the reason many great leaders avoid participation in the Family Law Section.

So regardless of the outcome, we are committed to making Season 2 a success with out without advertising in the Family Law Section publications.

I see that as a shame, because we could be working in collaboration to educate attorneys and advance the profession.

Did I mention we have no financial stake in these CLE’s. 100% of funds generated goes directly to benefit the Center for Child Counseling.

I would suggest contacting the E.C. and asking for your support, but unfortunately I am not confident that will be helpful. If you REALLY want to help, subscribe to our next season by clicking here!


3 thoughts on “Should the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Prohibit others from Advertising in their publications?

  1. robinscher

    Eddie,

    As a member of the FLS Executive Council I completely agree with how the matter is currently being handled. This is not a matter for the Chair or Executive Committee to decide unilaterally, but one that should be decided by the Council. I also agree that with you that it is in the best interest of the Section, its members and the citizens at large to encourage the education of its lawyers. However, I cannot agree that as a general policy advertising of those opportunities from whatever source is appropriate, particularly because I have not heard all of the purported concerns that seem to exist and necessitate such consideration by the Council, although I can think of a couple. To this end, I am very glad you are attending the meeting in August.

    You are not the only member of the Section that conducts their own CLEs and obviously there are many 3rd party providers who would also like the opportunity to advertisers to our membership, but you will no doubt speak to most if not all the issues that are brought up. It was the first thing I thought of when I started reading the post – you need to address EC. I would suggest that if you have any written materials that would help Council members in understanding the issue and / or your program in particular and why it should be permitted, that you submit them to Heather in advance so they can be added to the Agenda which will likely go out in the next couple 3 weeks for the Council’s review in preparation for the meeting. I will see you there and am looking forward to the discussion.

    Robin

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