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David

But aren't blogs advertising? Not all of them, of course. Take your blogs. I wouldn't consider the Legal Underground "advertising," it's more fun. Sure you talk about the law (specifically anti-tort reform), but also the lighter side of the law.

But what about the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog? I think that it's not a big stretch to say that in addition to educating others, you are also saying that you are a top notch Trial Practice firm. Some evidence of this is that you link to your firm.

Why are blogs good advertising machines? Well, when they are updated frequently, if their content is specialized, they perform well on searches. A search for "Illinois Trial Lawyer" on Google puts your ITP blog #2 (Behind Illinios TLA), and "Illinois Tort Lawyer" is 3rd. Pretty good advertising!

I think a bright-line rule is wrong; but there should probably be some regulation.

Evan

David: Reasonable minds can certainly differ. While thinking of weblogs as self-promotion rather than advertising (a distinction without a difference for some), I admit I am careful not to say anything in a weblog post that I would not be able to say ethically in an advertisement--misstatements or exaggerations about my law practice, for example.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Trial Practice weblog can be thought of as a book about trial practice broken into short sections. What would it mean if bar associations began treating publications by West or James Publishing as "advertisements" by the lawyers subject to the various sometimes very intrusive regulations that exist around the country? Seems like a bad turn to take to me.

David Giacalone

Evan, I think you're on the right track here -- we need to ask what is being said in a weblog and then compare it to what an advertisement is (or should be) for the purposes of regulating lawyer ads. Using PopPsych that equates every sort of "self-promotion" with "advertising" is simply not helpful, nor lawyerly.

I did read the KY Rules before my first post and specifically said that none were applicable to weblogs. That's precisely because the exceptions do not cover self-published items, but only third-party publications. It doesn't much help a lawyer trying to have a weblog in Kentucky today, to say "look at all the exceptions" when none of them are applicable. The Advertising Commission has to look at the Rules currently promulgated by its Board of Governors and the KY Supreme Court and decide how to apply them. The Commission would have to decide to override the existing rule on self-publishing to let weblogs slide. Although it has the power under Rule 7.03(e)(1)to "Issue and promulgate regulations and such forms as may be necessary, subject to prior approval by the Board [of Governors]", it's a lot to expect that the lowly Commission (which seems more like staffers) would rewrite a Rule in the guise of setting out regulations explaining the Rules.

Ben is right: The current KY ad rules are antiquated. Maybe they were just poorly written -- they missed the point that the Rules and Codes for regulating lawyer ads are aimed at conduct that is actively seeking clients by telling people about your services. I hope to have more on this topic today at my weblog.

p.s. The way we webloggers have responded to this issue is a good object lesson: first we seem to react with out guts and emotions (even if throwing around claims of constitutional rights), and then a day or so later, we start thinking like lawyers.

David Giacalone

erratum:

In my p.s., I meant to type "with our guts",
not "with out guts"

Marie

Kentucky blawgers
They whine with their own kind of blog
They link to you once
And a day that’s all wrong looks all right

And I love them
God knows I love them
Kentucky blawgers
They get referrals
They send referrals
Kentucky blawgers

Well, they ain’t the kind
Make blogs just to turn a quick buck
But something they write
Sends more clients in just the same

And I love them
God knows I love them
Kentucky blawgers
They get referrals
They send referrals
Kentucky blawgers

They don’t need blawg'vertising
They got the yellow pages
They got the billboards
They got the radio
They got the cable
Free the Kentucky blawgers

And I love them
God knows I love them
Kentucky blawgers
They get referrals
They send referrals
Kentucky blawgers

Kentucky blawgers
Kentucky blawgers
Kentucky blawgers

Marie

Oops! I meant to add: "With all respect and admiration for Neil Diamond."

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