The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Anya Sostek reports a law firm marketing video has sparked an Internet firestorm encompassing tens of thousands of YouTube viewers, Lou Dobbs and the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Pittsburgh’s Cohen & Grigsby’s video recorded their Seventh Annual Immigration Law Update.’ A portion of the video concerned the law requiring employers to prove that they have tried to find qualified American workers before applying for a green card for a foreign worker. Sostek reports the lawyers urged the audience, “in so many words, to do exactly the opposite.”

Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker,’ said partner Lawrence Lebowitz on the video. ‘And, you know, that in a sense that sounds funny, but it’s what we’re trying to do here.

Kim Berry, president of an organization called the Programmers Guild that opposes the issuance of visas to foreign workers, obtained a copy of the video, put it up on the net and got 44,000 hits in three days.

Cohen & Grigsby pulled the video from its website and issued a statement that it regreted people’s use of the video.

Best be careful what you’re saying as a lawyer, whether you’re publishing directly to the net or not. The Internet has in incredible way of spreading what you say – especially the things you’d prefer not be spread.

  • It’s amazing what sparks controversy anymore. Of course, an attorney whose client wants to hire someone from another country does not want to find a “qualified and interested US worker.” As an advocate for their client they want to find the way to meet the need of their client, within the confines of the free market. It is true that such a comment would not be a marketing highlight, one would hope that common sense would weight in at some point along the way. There is no insurance policy to guard against those who are simply looking for controversy.

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