Chinatown and north, Manhattan

Originally posted 2007-07-27 09:47:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

PI lawyers, in the vanguard, push back at the new New York disciplinary rules on attorney advertising — which were already considerably more modest than first proposed — and win:

Alexander & Catalano, the Syracuse, N.Y., personal injury firm that challenged the constitutionality of the advertising restrictions, had previously run ads calling its lawyers “heavy hitters” and showing them towering over downtown office buildings or sprinting at impossible speeds to help clients….Northern District of New York Judge Frederick J. Scullin ruled that the state had largely failed to show that its wholesale prohibitions of certain kinds of content had advanced its interest in protecting the public from misleading lawyer advertisements. Moreover, he said, the state had failed to show less onerous means could not achieve the same ends.

“Defendants have failed to produce any evidence that measures short of categorical bans would not have sufficed to remedy the perceived risks of such advertising being misleading,” the judge wrote in Alexander & Catalano v. Cahill, 07 Civ. 117. “There is nothing in the record to suggest that a disclaimer would have been ineffective.”

Along with the bans on nicknames and nonlegal characteristics, prohibitions on active client testimonials, portrayals of judges and fictitious law firms and the use of Internet pop-up ads were also struck down as unconstitutional in Scullin’s decision.

Just imagine how the original proposed changes would have fared.  That doesn’t mean that firm monikers such as “heavy hitters” aren’t just awful.  But if you want tacky lawyers, that should be your choice, regardless of how horrifying it is to the wig-and-breeches set (like LIKELLIHOOD OF CONFUSION).  The profession isn’t what it used to be, after all.

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.