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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Seeks Right to Advertise in R.I., a State in Which He Has No Office

Posted Oct 15, 2009 1:08 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Critics say that attorney James Sokolove is more about advertising than law practice. And at least one or two justices on the Rhode Island Supreme Court seemingly may agree.

As Sokolove's lawyer argued late last month that his client should be allowed to promote his Delaware-based national personal injury firm locally, even though it doesn't have an office in Rhode Island, Justice Francis Flaherty focused on television ads in which Sokolove promises to solve a client's problems, reports the Providence Journal.

Said Flaherty: “He doesn’t solve any problems."

Responded Sokolove's lawyer, John Tarantino: “He solves your problems. There’s nothing in the law that says ‘I have to handle the case.’ ”

The court is considering a disciplinary complaint that Sokolove's advertising is misleading while deciding whether to allow him to establish a limited liability corporation in Rhode Island. Calls to the proposed Sokolove Law LLC would be routed to Rhode Island attorney Brian Farrell, who would act as a member of the Sokolove company while continuing to run his own practice, the newspaper explains.

Rhode Island and South Dakota are the only two states in which he doesn't already have a presence. Sokolove is licensed in Massachusetts and New York. He presently handles requests for representation in Rhode Island by referring cases to local lawyers and splitting the fee with them—a practice that is also controversial.

Earlier related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: " ‘Ad Agency’ Law Firm’s Business Booms; $50 Million Campaign Envisioned"

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