Saturday, May 15, 2021
A Louisiana Hearing Committee recommends that bar charges of an advertising violation be dismissed .
The complaint involved a photograph of the accused attorney in Super Lawyers magazine that allegedly violated Rule 7.7(c) because the photo was not taken with a "plain background" and thus outside of the "safe harbor" provisions of Rule 7.2.
Rule 7.2(b)(1) permits, in pertinent part
(b) Permissible Content of Advertisements and Unsolicited Written Communications.
If the content of an advertisement in any public media or unsolicited written communication is limited to the following information, the advertisement or unsolicited written communication is exempt from the filing and review requirement and, if true, shall be presumed not to be misleading or deceptive...
(K) a photograph or image of the lawyer or lawyers who are members of or employed by the firm against a plain background.
The committee found that "plain" did not necessarily mean "blank or monochrome" and that the interpretation of the term "is subject to an individual's interpretation and indeed, taste."
Any violation was not knowing, the committee concludes, in light of a twenty year practice of similar photos in the publication without a disciplinary response. (Mike Frisch)