Monday, March 15, 2010

Not Giants But Not Prohibited

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has, in the main,affirmed the Disrtict Court's determination that certain aspects of the New York regime for regulating attorney advertising do not pass constitutional muster. The court rejected attempts to regulate "nicknames, mottos and trade names" and advertising gimmicks:

...the sort of gimmicks that this rule appears designed to reach--such as [a firm's] wisps of smoke, blue electrical currents, and special effects- do not actually seem to mislead. It is true that [the lawyer] and his partners are not giants towering above local buildings; they cannot run to a client's house so quickly that they appear as blurs; and they do not actually provide legal assistance to space aliens.

However, such attention-getting devices do not mislead the public.

The court also agreed with the District Court that the 30 day New York ban on solicitation of accident victims and their families was permissible under Florida Bar v. Went For It. The court discusses the concepts of the porcelain heart, Wemmick's Castle (it's from Dickens) and lawyers' reputations in reaching its conclusion in that regard. 

Hat tip to the ABA Journal. (Mike Frisch)

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