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Changes in code of conduct for lawyers

In an attempt to stem aggressive solicitation and misleading advertising, The New York State Bar has ratified amendments to the existing Lawyer's Code of Professional Conduct. The new amendments have met with mixed reactions from New York attorneys.

The amendments include a 30-day moratorium on soliciting personal injury or wrongful death clients and a ban on using paid endorsements or testimonials by current clients. Restrictions on web-based advertising, popup ads, and chat solicitations are also in place. Further, lawyers are prohibited from using nicknames such as "heavy hitter," or anything that would imply a court victory. Violations of the new rules may lead to disbarment.

Some lawyers feel that the new rules belabor the obvious, such as the requirement that all attorney ads state clearly that they are for legal services. Others feel that the New York State Bar is micro-managing and restricting e-commerce.

McKenna unites with Hands On Network
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Hands On Network, a not-for-profit network of volunteer organizations, have announced a national partnership to focus mainly on raising the volunteerism level throughout the U.S.

The united entity will create a council that will work towards an increase in the number of volunteers nationwide and train 100,000 volunteer leaders. McKenna will provide pro bono legal services to the network as well. Leaders of Fortune 500 companies such as Turner Broadcasting, SAP Americas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Coca Cola Company, Albertsons, and Accenture have also pledged to participate.

Hands On Network operates both within the U.S. and abroad. It has about half a million volunteers culled from 58 member organizations. Up to 50,000 projects per year are created and managed by Hands On as it moves towards bringing change in the community from within.

Arizona attracts law boutiques
A booming economy in the state of Arizona is attracting large law firms. In the past 6 years, the State's population has grown by over 12%. Large national law firms have taken advantage of the boom by establishing boutique satellite offices throughout Arizona.

Among the numerous firms present in Arizona are Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart and Littler Mendelson, both in Phoenix. Ogletree Deakins, the nation's third largest labor and employment law firm, opened its Phoenix office this June with a large number of lawyers defecting from rival firm Bryan Cave. The firm now has 15 lawyers specializing in labor and employment law. Littler Mendelson plans to increase the number of attorneys in its Phoenix office from 14 to as many as 20.

Philadelphia merger activity
The large Philadelphia-based law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads will be merging with the 11-attorney firm Crawford, Wilson & Ryan on August 1st. The merged entity will be named Montgomery, McCracken.

Full-service law firm Montgomery presently employs 160 lawyers spread over four locations. The merger is in keeping with their expansion policy, which began with the recruiting of attorneys from Reed Smith and Wolf Block.

Montgomery predicts that the merger will benefit their employee benefits and executive compensation, immigration, tax, and corporate practices. Through the merger, they will join with Crawford's top-rated real estate practice.

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP


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