f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 13, 2006

perspectives on NYSBA’s war on lawyer ads

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:27 pm

The Albany, NY, version of The Business Review-bizjournal tried today
to make sense of the New York State Bar Association’s crusade to
improve the image of lawyers by eliminating “sleazy,” inappropriate ads.
Savvy or sleazy: Bar tackles tricky issue of attorney advertisements,”
by Eric Durr, Feb. 13, 2006. (treated at length in our prior post, Nov. 18,

The article is worth a read, with quotes from: the crusading NYSBA pres-
ident, A. Vincent Buzard; a lawyer using “heavy hitter” ads; a couple of ad
agency heads (one of whom does not want p/i lawyer clients); and the (in)-
famous E. Stewart Jones (see porior posts here, here, and there). Jones,
one of the biggest lawyer advertisers in the NY Capital Region, is quoted
saying about advertising:


“I think it’s a plague on the profession,” and “I recommend its abolition.”

“There are no restrictions on what people can say about themselves. It
does more to misinform.

“It has become a necessary evil because it is such a competitive business
that if you don’t advertise, you don’t get your name out. You have to fight fire
with fire.”

Jones, who is on local tv being interviewed spouting and spinning defense lawyer clap-

trap more than any other attorney, adds: “Many of them are just absolutely tasteless.

It’s just a tawdry process. It cheapens the profession. If people see something is on

television, they think it’s great.”


For my money (and my viscera), entertainment and copyright lawyer Paul C. Rapp,

who teaches those subjects as an adjunct professor at Albany Law School, makes

the most sense (and, coincidentally, sounds a lot like the f/k/a gang) on the NYSBA

push to approve lawyer ads, in advance, for appropriateness and their effect on lawyer

image. Rapp says ” In some ways the whole notion of doing that seems dangerous

and misguided.” He adds:

“The whole idea of trying to maintain the dignity of an entire profession,

and especially the legal profession — which I don’t have to quote Shakespeare

to you to tell you [that] for centuries this has not been grea t– by trying to

control how attorneys represent themselves, seems almost silly.”


a. vincent buzard


Seeing Vince Buzard continue this battle — his top priority as bar President — against

the First Amendment and the forces of competition makes me wonder: Why would

any bar association choose him to lead their association? Why, indeed. (hint: see

our bar & guild essay)


tiny check I wonder what Kobayashi Issa would have to say

about all this, from his perspective in early 19th Century Japan?


they even sell
the swamp’s lotuses…
leaf and blossom






river boat–
on a night of fireworks
still selling fireworks





harvest moon–
the peddler selling
eight cent sake








they even sell tea
not worth a fart!
summer trees





selling morning-glories
wet with morning dew…
a tough character


translated by David G. Lanoue


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