04/04/07

Rules pulverize lawyers' ad`missions'


We can solve almost….Ssh…Ssh…!! This is what meets the marketing efforts of lawyers nowadays, thanks to the caution put on them to cap tall claims.

Since February 1, federal brakes have been applied to the lawyer advertising. The new advertising regulations, though, are meant to pulverize some of the big time, belligerent firms; their effect is also evident on the smaller non-vocal firms. This has, no doubt, streamlined ads to a great extent.

However, the dilemma that besets most attorneys is, how to say, `Try me?' The regulations asked newsletters and email-soliciting clients to carry prominent tags labeled "Attorney Advertising" or, rather, hit-the-spam button! The same dilemma rears its head even in the case of snail mail too. "We're trying to do the right ethical thing, but logistically, there comes a point where it becomes ridiculous," says Liber Raines. Firms like Damon & Morey, LLP , and peers in the Western New York arena are putting the rules in the scanner to read and re-read between the lines, says bizjournals.com.

The result: A few exempt have been uncovered. They include written communication to current clients; attorney-attorney communication, sponsorship ads in theater programs; and youth-league promotional sponsor jerseys bearing the law firm's name. Other let off the hook are billboards.

The eighth Judicial District, which enforces the regulations, has issued a handful of warnings till Feb. 1, informs Vincent Scarsella, Deputy Chief Counsel of the Attorney Grievance Committee.

The scrutinizers' scanner lenses have thickened to coke bottle dimensions. To track rule-breakers, they pour down details on newspaper ads or on soap commercials, apart from scanning phone-book ads. But the lids go off when peers complain and the attorneys' colleagues do some talking. And the slip can be a casual miss, almost unnoticeable as a phone number or address line.

Firms like Hurwitz & Fine question if their e-newsletters, which contain information sans any ads, also fall to the axe? Many others too are still groping their way.

Schiff Hardin energizes Washington, DC, and Boston Energy practice
One of the major national players in the energy/Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) law field, Schiff Hardin, LLP, expanded its energy team with more power. The firm added eight attorneys and one legislative affairs specialist to its much-reputed energy practice group. Of the nine new entrants, six attorneys and the legislative affairs specialist will join the firm in Washington, DC, while the other two attorneys will join the Boston office. All of them earlier served Sullivan and Worcester LLP.

Among the six attorneys in Washington, DC, Sherry A. Quirk, Regina Y. Speed-Bost, David A. Fitzgerald, and Thomas B. Ingoldsby have joined as partners; and Montina M. Cole and Stanley P. Wolf have joined as counsel. Christopher E. Eckl is the new legislative affairs specialist in this office. Of the duo in Boston, Robin E. Remis joins as a partner, while Monica M. Berry joins as an associate.

All the attorneys, including the legislative affairs specialist, have wide experience of dealing in all aspects of energy law ranging from administrative and regulatory law, transactional, regulatory, litigation, and legislative matters to ISO development. Robert H. Riley, Chairman of the firm, is confident that both the firm and its clients will benefit from the enhanced capabilities of the already established team. A full service national law firm, Schiff Hardin has nearly 400 attorneys serving wide clientele from offices located all over the country.

BIZARRE NEWS

Cram refuses to cram it up easily!
Ronald Cram killed his 46-year-old wife Colleen in December, 2001, with a hope to inherit $50,000 insurance money. No wait… that's not the news. Cram, now 51, isn't going to cram it up so soon, at least not before he lays hand on the insurance money. That's the story. The man, convicted in 2002, hasn't given up the hope yet. His side: The "conviction isn't final so long as he continues to appeal it," reports startribune.com. He is scheduled to appear before Ramsey County District Judge Steven Wheeler on April 27. On the other hand, Cram's legal battle is making Colleen's family suffer. Not only because he stands a chance to win, but more because he is being "vindictive" towards their deceased relative. Marcella Konietzko, Colleen's 82-year-old mother, sums it up stating "that's crazy." Can somebody kill first and then lay claim to the murdered person's life insurance? But this Minnesota guy will not give up…