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New York Courts concede may not have considered Internet when passing lawyer ad restrictions

The New York Office of Court Administration, the folks who passed the draconian restrictions on lawyer ads that even the FTC said were anti-consumer, concedes the Internet may not have even been considered when passing the restrictions. That’s right, restrictions passed in June, 2006, not 1996, perhaps passed without considering the Internet.

This from the spokesman for the state’s Office of Court Administration, David Bookstaver in an excellent story in The New York Sun.

The intent of the new rules is to increase professionalism and accountability within the profession. Was the new Internet world considered? Was blogging considered? I don’t know.

This is dumbfounding. Actually sickening.

  • More people are turning to the Internet for legal information than anywhere else.
  • More people are turning to the Internet than the yellow pages when locating a lawyer.
  • The Internet is the great equalizer for the small lawyer trying to reach consumers and small business the lawyer can serve.
  • Blogs have empowered lawyers to share practical legal information like never before possible.
  • Before it’s all over, we are going to look back and say that blogs have done more to improve the image of the legal profession than anything else in the previous 25 years.

And the guys passing the rules on lawyer advertising in New York may not know what is going on out on the Internet with regard to legal information and lawyer marketing. If the Internet was considered, the spokesperson would have known.

I’d like to ask the parties overseeing the office passing these ad restrictions, New York Chief Administrative Judge Judge Lippman, supervising the administration and operation of the State’s trial courts, and Chief Judge of the State of New York Judith S. Kaye, who establishes Statewide standards and administrative policies, if they know what it is like for a consumer or small business looking for legal information on the net or what’s it like to worry about being able to market your legal practice so as to meet the monthly bills. The answer would be ‘No.’

Fortunately the period for public comment, originally set to end 11 days ago, has been lengthened. Someone tell the Court to tell the public when the deadline expires. The court’s website still says September 15.

Thanks to Greg Beck at Public Citizen’s Consumer Law and Policy Blog for the heads up on the article.

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