« The Ostrich-Like Behavior of Lawyers | Main | Independent Heaven »

2005.06.03

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834516ecf69e200d8347d616a69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bikini Clad Paris Hilton Endorses New Law Firm Billing Model:

Comments

GAL

The lack of creativity in the legal market is best reflected in the attorney section of the Yellow Pages. Attorney yellow page ads are almost all the same. No creativity. No differentiation. No alternatives. Just like the real world legal market. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

TL

I would use Paris in my commerical. Whatever happened to me (and I would no doubt be disbarred) would be OK by me. It would be worth it. Another view, another voice and an alternative message would be delivered like the 17" bass in the "I love Paris" Cole Porter mix, also found on the Hardee's commercial web site.

Darkness Ruled the Land

Let's face the cold hard undeniable facts. We live in a system designed to keep legal consumers in the dark. Gasp! Can it be true?

Adam Smith Lives

Why do we discourage a market economy in law. Isn't capitalism supposed to work across all markets? At least with capitalism driving the legal market, diversity and innovation thrive. The consumer with legal options always wins in the end.

Bar Fly

Bar Associations should be concerned about misrepresentations in lawyer ads, not creativity, novelty and innovation. Other businesses regularly compare their products and services (including quality) with their major competitors. Advertising tells consumers about their alternatives. Smart consumers take it from there and do their homework just like in other markets. Reputations become more than law school resumes, having your name in the firm name and prestigious (ie high) billing rates. Jerks and bottom-feeders still exist. But they will not flourish in a true market economy.

Advertisement Ethics

If you are wondering where the advertising lines are in your state, check out this ABA web page which breaks down advertising rules by state. For another interesting page, take a look at Overlawyered advertising page where they take jabs at lawyers using advertisements to start lawsuits. The "let's sue em" advertisements are often used to support the advertising limitation arguments. I believe we have thrown the baby out with the bath water (or at least throw out the Paris with the hose water), even accepting that the injury advertisements bring more negative consequences than positive ones.

David Giacalone

GAL and Bar Fly make some great points. Long before my ethicalEsq persona was created, I concluded -- working as an FTC attorney monitoring anticompetitive conduct by professionals -- that limitations on lawyer advertising have far more to do with stifling competition, and upholding a "dignity" that would warrant bloated self-images and higher prices, than with protecting consumers. It is worrisome that so many bar groups are now working to once again limit lawyer advertising (often under the guise of tort reform). All lawyers who care about consumers, competition, free speech, and innovation -- not just those who now do personal injury advertising -- need to let their bar associations and bar regulators know that further limiting lawyer advertising is anticonsumer.

Here are some recent examples of the trend toward excessive limitations on lawyer ads:

The new president of the NYSBA wants to limit lawyer advertising "to the fullest extent permitted, within the limitations of the First Amendment," along the lines of a program discussed in this posting - http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/stories/storyReader$3808 .

South Carolina wants to ban lawyer nicknames -- http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/05/06#a3798 .

Indiana is disciplining lawyers for silly puffery that no consumer could take seriously - http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2003/08/13#a182 .

I've always believed that personal injury lawyers could afford tv ads because they are -- despite their protests -- making considerably more per hour than other lawyers (much more than risk alone warrants). Advertising in mass markets may not be an option for many law firms, therefore. However, the ability of the internet to target potential clients with reasonably-priced ads should permit many more lawyers to begin serious advertising campaigns.

Thanks for the soapbox, GAL.

p.s. to AdamSmithEsq: No, capitalism does not work in every market, although real competition always does promote consumer welfare through lower prices and innovation. The inability of consumers to adequately judge the ability of a lawyer in advance, or to gauge the adequacy of the services after received, means there is need for lawyer regulation beyond market forces. Despite that regulation -- or, even more so, because of it -- competition must be encouraged whenever possible.

p.p.s For advertising to be beneficial, it needs to give useful, nondeceptive information. Merely creating brand identity, so that you can charge more, is not increasing competition or helping consumers. See "Brand Lex" at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2004/03/04#a981 .

Dave

While I believe that Paris Hilton is more spectacle than sexpot, I understand your point. Why not open the 'toolbox' to lawyers and allow them the same freedom in advertising as everyone else?

My take on that is as a lawyer, you are not only reflecting your own practice, you are also reflecting on the legal/justice system. Of course, the legal system is worth protecting, but is that something that should be legislated?

The past 50 years have seen the commercialization of America in nearly every aspect of our life. Shouldn't lawyers be able to take advantage of that too?

Those are tough questions and worthy of debate. I'm not certain there's a 'right or wrong' to the answers as much as how they reflect your world views.

There is a certain wing of the Republican Party that feels that market forces solve every problem that can be faced. Well, no. I'm about as big a proponent for capitalism that's come down the pike, but there *do* have to be rules. Look what happened at Enron, Tyco, Waste Management... when they took off the personal responsibility rules. Do you know that those 3 companies stole the equivalent of $300,000 for every lawyer in this country?? Holy cow.

I think 'some' rules and guidelines are a good thing. How much for lawyers? Why can't we do what other people are doing?

My answer to that lies on what we are protecting. Is the legal system worth protecting? I think we can say unqualified 'Yes it is'. Does the prohibition on advertising help protect the legal image? Is there anything *else* we could do to protect the legal image?

I think there's a lot more that we could do to protect the legal system, but who out there is doing that? Very few. I think advertising is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems the legal profession is currently facing.

I'm a member of trial lawyers associations at the state, national and regional levels. In my state, out of 12,000 lawyers in the state, only 1,200 are members of the state TLA. Of those only about 350 go to the State Convention. Only about 5-10 go to the Conventions at both the state and national level. About 3 go to the state, regional and national Convention.

When our state TLA has work that can be done, there is a core group of 30-40 lawyers in the state that help out. That's it.

So I think that the profession and the legal system is worth valuing, whether that is by being 'dignified' or just worthy of praise / coolness factor. I don't think that the advertising prohibitions are the most helpful, but think our malaise is much deeper than that.

In so much that the legal system codifies transactions and resolves disputes for our country, isn't a dissatisfaction for the legal system a dissatisfaction for what our country has become, or where it is heading?

I agree with you that the professionalism belongs in the work done for your clients and not in shackled advertising. How do you get more people involved? I think one piece at a time. Blogs (for those who know of them) are helpful. I'm going to chair the Public Education Committee for our state TLA next year.

One of my goals will be to take it to the streets and let people know the hard work that we're doing out there and the problems that the public faces if they ever get hurt.

As a personal injury lawyer, I can tell you how much the 'sleazy ads' have hurt us. They are very profitable to the people who run the ads, but poison the jury pool for the trial lawyers that end up in the courtroom. I don't feel that they do a service to the legal profession. David Giacalone mentioned that in South Carolina they are banning nicknames. We have two attorneys that run ads 'The Strong Arm' and the 'The Heavy Hitter' that do a lot to create a negative image of lawyers.

So as someone who has seen the impact of these ads firsthand, I don't mind strictures on them.

I find it interesting though that you wanted to open up all the restrictions, exceptin' of course injury ads. And if the argument is that we are qualitatively no different than a burger or a shiny fast car, why not injury ads too? Are commercial clients that much more sophisticated than end consumers? Just because we deal with the public, why does that make us different than any other branch of the legal profession? Why don't your arguments for alternative billing hold for injury lawyers?

You raise a lot of interesting questions. Ultimately, I don't know the answers to fixing the legal profession and the best direction to take it. I just do the best job I can, let my work reflect my values and try to get other people on the bandwagon.

JOSEPHINE

MY SON OF LESS THAN A YEAR ALMOST LOST HIS LIFE
MY DAUGHTER HAVEN EATEN A PIZZA BOUGHT FROM SUPER MARKET COMPLAINED BITTERLY OF STOMACK PAINS
I RUSHED HER TO THE HOSPITAL
WE WERE IN TROUSSEAU ALMOST ALL DAY
MY FIVE YEAR OLD BOY IS COMPLAINNING OF PAINS
I HAVE BEEN IN PAINS TOO I TRY TO BE STRONG FOR THE CHILDREN ...

RECENTLY AN EXPIRED PRODUCT SINCE TWO MONTHS WAS SOLD TO ME WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE

I WANT TO SUE THE COMPANY

THEY ARE MESSING WITH OUR LIFE.
MY BABY IS NOT PERFECTLY OK YET

CAN YOU HELP US OUT?

JOSEPHINE

More Swimsuits

I wasn't aware that there were specific advertising rules that barred lawyers from certain types of commercials. Logically, it makes sense not to use Paris Hilton or a sex campaign to sell an attorney's services. I, for one, would not trust an attorney who used a girl in a bikini to sell his legal services. However, if there is such a law, I agree that lawyers should be allowed to use their own discretion in advertising.

Patent Attorney India

Patent services such as patent law firm, patent attorney, patent offshoring, patent drafting, patent analytics etc. are provided by T&T Consultants in a time and cost efficient manner in India.

The comments to this entry are closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Virtual Job board

GAL Radio

  • GALRadio

Twitter Updates

Advertisers

  • ..

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner