State bars force law ads to be more boring

Two quick notes of disclosure: I sometimes write ads for a law firm, and the ads (print only) usually have some dry wit to them. But that’s as much as I should say, because apparently jokes don’t go over so well with legal disciplinary folks. The Wall Street Journal had a front-page story this week about how New York and Florida are cracking down on crash-landed UFOs, Godzilla-sized attorneys and pretty much anything more interesting than a mahogany desk in legal ads. Here’s a telling excerpt from the article: “In 2006, the bar struck down (personal-injury) ads on the grounds that they contained improper content, including the sound of children bouncing a ball. Other impermissible sounds, according to the bar: a computer turning off, a light switch turning off, and footsteps.” The Florida rules even go on to list what you can show in an ad: gavels, eagles, columns, “a plain unadorned set of law books,” etc. Someone should make a protest spot where a lawyer defends his client by hurling gavels and unadorned books at a flock of bloodthirsty eagles.

—Posted by David Griner