Despite New York’s new attorney disciplinary rules on advertising going into effect today, and despite months of discussion, most major law firms have apparently failed to comply. The list below includes 11 of the 15 largest firms in the nation.
A review this morning of firm web sites with offices in New York finds that the following are not marked as attorney advertising on their home page (or even their New York page if NY is not the home office), as the new rules mandate:
- Baker & McKenzie;
- Weil Gotshal;
- Jones Day;
- Sidley Austin;
- Mayer Brown;
- Holland & Knight;
- Akin Gump;
- Morgan Lewis;
- Hogan & Hartson;
- Morrison Foerster;
- Foley & Lardner;
- Kirkland & Ellis;
- Orrick Herrington;
- McDermott, Will & Emery.
If these firms have it, I couldn’t find it.
This is not, by any means, an exhaustive list. It is the point I stopped after realizing that most major firms with New York offices were apparently violating the ethics rules by failing to mark their site appropriately. With some of these firms now paying $160,000 per year (plus bonus) for the best and the brightest, I’d love to hear the excuses they give.
The failure to comply is not limited to the big firms, of course. A quick Google search with “New York [insert specialty]” finds the problem to be widespread.
(Nicole Black, over at Sui Generis, likewise noted the lack of compliance, and also wrote of a lawsuit to be filed today challenging the rules)
What the New York judiciary will do about this is any one’s guess. Mine is that they send out a spate of warning letters demanding compliance under threat of reprimand. If they fail to enforce, then the new rules become like jaywalking…an unenforced law. And that would only hurt the credibility of the courts, which means that enforcement must come. (And yes, my own law firm website is in compliance.)
For more on the issue:
- New Attorney Advertising Rules (Is This Blog an Advertisement?) (this site)
- New York Advertising Rules Roundup (Sui Generis)
- 2007 Changes to the New York Ethical Rules Re: Lawyer Advertising (Legal Ease)
- Some More Discussion About New York’s Attorney Advertising Rules (New York Civil Law)
[Addendum: As of 1:52, EST on 2/1/07, two of the firms above have complied (either I didn’t see it before, or they added it: Weil Gotshal and Hogan and Hartson (in itty bitty, light colored font)]
Follow-up post at this link.