Lawyer Ad Rules May Bar Blogging, La. Law Firm Says in Suit and Blog
Posted Nov 24, 2008 2:37 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A law firm contends new Louisiana lawyer advertising rules slated to take effect in April will restrict its right to comment on Twitter, Facebook, online bulletin boards and blogs.
The Wolfe Law Group filed a federal suit today challenging the rules, claiming they would subject each of the firm’s online posts to an evaluation and a $175 fee, according to a press release. The construction law firm says in the suit that its own blog may qualify for an exemption for law firm websites, but its comments on other blogs would not.
The firm claims the rules would restrict its First Amendment right to speak freely about its trade. To make its point, the law firm has launched a blog called Blog No Evil: Blogging is Speaking.
The suit (PDF) also says the requirements for online ads would restrict the firm’s ability to advertise on Google and other online outfits that often limit size and character count of ads. “Businesses that do not advertise through online medias will be at a competitive disadvantage,” the suit says.
The suit is the second that seeks to overturn the rules. Public Citizen and two personal injury lawyers have also challenged the rules as a First Amendment violation, the Associated Press reports.
The lawyers say the new rules are considered the most restrictive in the nation, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. They bar lawyers from referring to "past successes" and from using nicknames or mottos that imply an ability to get results. They also ban client testimonials, actors' endorsements and re-enactments.