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

April 8, 2006

“staffordfshire terrier” lawyers scolded by Florida Bar

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:56 pm

Florida Bar Association President Alan B. Bookman, whose “primary clients are real estate developers, bankers, and investors,” became chief mouthpiece yesterday for the State’s legal and judicial Dignity Police. Bookman administered the Florida Bar’s official reprimand to Ft. Lauderdale motorcycle-accident lawyers John Pape and Marc Chandler. (Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Lawyers Chastised for Pit Bull Ads, April 7, 2006; Law.com, ‘Pit Bull’ Lawyers Reprimanded by Fla. Bar, April 10, 2006);

AmStaffTerrier AKC: American Staffordshire Terrier a/k/a: American Pit Bull Terrier [UKC]

Ten days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision (see our prior post) not to review the disciplinary matter of Florida Bar v. Pape & Chandler, Bookman read a three-page admonishment to John and Marc, before all 52 members of FBA’s Board of Governors, and additional witnesses. Like the Florida Supreme Court, Bookman accused the lawyers of demeaning the legal profession, and utilizing misleading, manipulative, and objectively irrelevant advertising techniques, by having the image of an American Staffordshire Terrier — a/k/a pitbull — in its ads and on its masthead, and by using the phone number (800) PIT-BULL. Sun-Sentinel reporter Robert Nolin says that Pape & Chandler used a “fierce-looking pit bull in a spiked collar.” He quotes Bookman (emphasis added):

“The advertising devices would suggest to many persons not only that you can achieve results but also that you engage in a combative style of advocacy,” Bookman chastised. “Permitting this type of advertisement would make a mockery of our dedication to promoting public trust and confidence in our system of justice.”

PitBullLogo Please click this link for the actual banned banner masterhead, which contains the “demeaning,” “misleading,” “vicious” pit bull image condemned by the Florida legal establishment, including its Supreme Court. The pitbull image appeared as P&C’s ampersand, and in the tv ads, too.

p&c The P&C pitbull image doesn’t look fierce or vicious to us. Perhaps, it was the motorcycle-riding, suitless lawyers who the Florida Bar really thought looked overly-combative and “demeaning.” Click for the larger, full-color tv image.

Now, compare it to the masthead of one of Florida (and America’s) most famous and successful personal injury lawyers, Robert M. Montgomery, JR (who was lead counsel for Florida in its 13.5 billion dollar settlement with Big Tobacco):

BobMLogo We’re not sure whether we’d say Bob Montgomery’s lion “suggests combativeness,” but we will point out that his website opens with the lion’s head and the words:

we pride ourselves on being fierce trial attorneys.”

Similarly, the f/k/a Gang does not claim to have expertise in comparative animal ferocity (nor dignity), but we feel considerably more menaced by the pair of lions in the Searcy law firm masthead, than by P&C’s terrier. (Are folks in West Palm Beach more or less timid than motor cycle riders?) And, the two panthers prowling the website of Miami’s Panter, Panter & Sampedro, are pretty darn menacing, according to a snap poll at the haikuEsq homestead. You judge:

PanterPantherR PANTER PANTER & SAMPREDO PanterPantherL

You might want to let Arne C. Vanstrum, Advertising Counsel for The Florida Bar, know your comparative assessments on the dignity+combativeness scale among the various law firms. [email Vanstrum at avanstru@flabar.org] If you’re a member of FBA, you might consider becoming a volunteer for his Dignity Posse. It seems Statewide advertising grievance committee needs new members,” (Florida Bar News, April 1, 2006) According to Law.com, you’ll help decide whether Hispanic lawyers can call themselves “doctors of law,” and whether FBA is going to have a presence regulating internet ads. I simply can’t understand why lawyers aren’t just lining up to do the work of the FBA Advertising Grievance Committee.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Temperament From the past history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the modern dog draws its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog. [per American Kennel Club]

Meanwhile, if you’re a consumer wondering just what the Florida Bar has done for you lately, click here. (Daily Business Review, “About Face,” April 5, 2006). It seems FBA has “derailed a Republican-sponsored bill that would have placed paralegals under the oversight of the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. State Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, has withdrawn his proposed Paralegal Professional Act, which paralegal groups favored but the Bar strongly opposed.” Apparently, the Bar is against any system that would set up educational or experience criteria before lawyers can call a staffer a “paralegal” and bill for his or her services.

lightning flash–
only the dog’s face
is innocent

………………………………. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

tiny check Oh, yes, definitely time for a haiku break with randy brooks:

black panties–

she lifts one leg,

then an eyebrow

neon light flickers

on a crumpled beer can —

yellow jacket at the hole

circle in the dirt . . .

shadow of a thundercloud

stops the shooter

he opens his cupped palm . . .

a small tadpole with

a little wiggle left

door left open kiteG

there he goes

with his knife

show me yours.

you first.

barn roof creaks

……. by Randy Brooks – from School’s Out (Press Here, 1999)

PitBullGone

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