Legal Marketing

Billboards near music festival site offer law firm's services to arrested concert-goers

A concert promoter is sounding off about law firm billboards by his music-festival site that offer legal services to those arrested at the concert.

Event promoter Jay Goldberg acknowledges that programs for the Summer Camp festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, have included ads with a lawyer’s name and phone number. But in his view, the billboards by an East Peoria law firm look sensational and crass, the Peoria Journal Star reports.

“I think it’s an ignorant and stupid thing to do,” Goldberg told the newspaper. “It’s insulting to Chillicothe, it’s insulting to the community and it’s insulting to me personally. It’s just a slap to the whole event.”

Chillicothe Mayor Doug Crew also dislikes the billboards advertising the services of Hall, Rustom & Fritz. “It does cast the area in a poor light,” he told the Journal Star.

Two of the billboards are on roads near the music festival. “Arrested at the Festival?” they ask. The law firm’s name and phone number are listed. A third billboard near a Super 8 motel close to the festival site reads: “Arrested this summer? We can help!”

Name partner Jeff Hall defended his firm’s billboards. “We advertise through various channels well within the rules of professional conduct governing legal marketing,” he told the newspaper. “Billboards are no different than our online legal blog, website or TV commercials. Hall, Rustom & Fritz encourages any citizen to be aware of their constitutional rights and we help fight to protect those rights.”

On the firm’s Facebook page, they posted a link to the Journal Star’s article, and commented, “One ironic point of fact: In June, 2011, Summer Camp Promoter Mr. Goldberg had no problems suggesting to Attorney Jeff Hall that Hall, Rustom & Fritz entertain a corporate sponsorship as ‘The Official Legal Services’ for Summer Camp Music Festival. We appreciated the offer but found other ways to advertise.”

More than 15,000 people—more than double the population of Chillicothe—attended the festival last year. Police issued 272 citations for traffic and criminal offenses and made 119 drug-related arrests, the story says. Crew takes the numbers in stride.

“If you’re going to put 15,000 people in a certain area for a certain time, you’ll have a few stray off the straight path,” he tells the Journal Star.

Updated at 10:23 a.m. to add a link to the firm’s Facebook post, and at 11:24 a.m. to add the video.

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