“Judges Think I Am Awesome!” Third Circuit Approves Use Of Judicial Endorsement on Lawyer’s Website

by: Peter J. Gallagher

In an interesting First Amendment decision issued yesterday, he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down a New Jersey attorney-advertising guideline that banned attorneys from including judicial quotations in their advertising unless the full judicial opinions appeared in the advertisement.

In Dwyer v. Cappell, an attorney, Andrew Dwyer,  included several favorable quotations from judicial opinions on his firm’s webpage, including one where a judge, in the context of a fee application, noted that the attorney was “a fierce, if sometimes not disinterested advocate for his clients,” who had “molded the case to the point where it could be successfully resolved.” The judge who wrote that opinion asked Dwyer to remove the quotation from the website. When Dwyer refused, the judge contacted the Committee on Attorney Advertising.

After meeting with Dwyer and receiving submissions from him on the issue, the Committee proposed an attorney-advertising guideline, and solicited public comment on it, that would have banned attorneys from including quotations “from a judge or court opinion (oral or written) regarding the attorney[s’] abilities or legal services.”  Dwyer submitted a comment objecting to the proposed objection as an unconstitutional ban on speech. Nonetheless, three years later, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved an amended version of the guideline that banned attorneys from using quotations from judicial opinions in their advertisements, but allowed them to advertise using the full text of judicial opinions in which those quotations appeared. The comments to the proposed rule explained that it was designed to avoid confusing the public into believing that a judge was endorsing a specific attorney, something that is prohibited under the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

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One Thing IKEA Doesn’t Sell — 10-Foot Hot Dogs

by:  Peter J. Gallagher

I have previously written about my love/hate relationship with IKEA ("IKEA Furniture, Your Kids, Origami, And Locke's Theory Of Property . . . Perfect Together").  Well, this weekend my wife and I were shopping at IKEA for a new table and noticed this sign advertising hot dogs at the IKEA cafe:

Note the bottom right corner of the sign where IKEA warns you that the hot dogs are not shown actual size.  Really?  Did someone think that the company that can pack a 10-foot table into a two foot box was also capable of making 10-foot hot dogs and selling them for 50 cents?  More likely is that this is just another example of why people  dislike lawyers, because someone would probably sue for false advertising if the sign didn't contain this obscenely obvious disclaimer.