TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Bar is launching a campaign it calls Dignity in Law, a statewide awareness and education campaign designed to open the lines of communication between the legal profession and the public. The campaign, which has a $750,000 budget, was conceived and is being led by rbb Public Relations and its president, Christine Barney.
According to newly elected Florida Bar President Tod Aronovitz, Dignity in Law was created to combat the many misperceptions about the legal system that have reached disturbing levels. A recent survey conducted by The American Bar Association showed that the legal profession is among the least reputed institutions in America, ranking above only the media in consumer confidence. 
“Distrust for lawyers and judges has reached such vast proportions that it is turning people away from the legal system, and that is a dangerous trend for all Floridians,” said Aronovitz, managing partner of Miami-based law firm Aronovitz Trial Lawyers. “The Florida Bar’s Dignity in Law program is an innovative and honest answer to years of misunderstanding about the important job that lawyers do day in and day out.”
The campaign has already attracted some criticism. Tallahassee Democrat columnist Bill Cotterell responded to the PR initiative by claiming that “people see lawyers gaming the system for personal profit - enormous profit—and not caring who gets hurt,” and says substantive changes to the system, including a “loser pays” rule, would have more impact on perceptions.
The campaign is a major undertaking by The Florida Bar, after a 2001 member opinion survey showed the majority of its members believe public education is the most important issue facing the profession. It was also a major undertaking for rbb, which pitched the idea to several groups, including the Florida Supreme Court, before getting the go-ahead.
“While a handful of high profile cases and some television and movie portrayals have eroded confidence in the legal system, the reality is Florida has some of the best lawyers and judges in the nation, whose good work goes unnoticed,” said Aronovitz.  “Dignity in Law will be collecting their stories and bringing them to Floridians through a variety of communication vehicles.”
One major element of the initiative is a new bi-lingual online media center at www.flabar.org. The site features elements including downloadable images, streaming video, weekly announcements, and surveys and research pertaining to the legal profession.