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Lawyers’ Internet ads must say paid for? New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Committee on Attorney Advertising recently issued an opinion requiring that Internet ads include wording that they were paid for and that the host is not acting as a referral service.

This from the committee as reported by Law.com this week.

[W]e conclude that a lawyer who seeks to give anything of value in order to participate in such a listing must, before doing so, ensure that the listing or advertising contains a prominently and unmistakably displayed disclaimer, in a presentation at least equal to the largest and most prominent font and type on the site, declaring that ‘all attorney listings are a paid attorney advertisement, and do not in any way constitute a referral or endorsement by an approved or authorized lawyer referral service.

The committee says this is needed to protect the public trust. Hell, I think the public is smart enough to know that ads are paid for by the advertiser.

Could it be that the committee’s real goal is to make it harder for lawyers with less marketing resources to grow their law practices by getting legal work from the good old boys who don’t advertise? The sad thing is that in many cases the good old boys would never represent the people attracted by these ads, especially if the legal fee was not large enough.

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