New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Alexander v. Cahill, Attorney Ethics, Judiciary


April 4th, 2007

New York Attorney Advertising Lawsuit — Reply Brief

The reply brief was filed regarding the lawsuit challenging New York’s new advertising rules for attorneys. A copy of the brief by Public Citizen is here:Reply.pdf

I previously covered the opposition brief filed by New York’s Attorney General here: New York Responds to Lawsuit Challenging New Attorney Advertising Rules — By Banning Humor

The issue I had written on was the vagueness of the rules, and that even a simple family photograph could be viewed as a violation, and I had remarked that the State had failed to address the issue of vagueness. This is how Public Citizen responded:

Defendants Do Not Dispute That the Rules Are Unconstitutionally Vague and Thus Invite Arbitrary Enforcement.

Defendants do not respond to plaintiffs’ argument that the rules are too vague to give adequate guidance to those seeking to avoid discipline and to prevent arbitrary enforcement. See Pls.’ Mem. at 15-17. As explained in plaintiffs’ opening memorandum, the rules do not define a “technique[] to obtain attention” or explain what sorts of techniques are “relevan[t] to the selection of counsel.” Id. Nor do they provide any guidance as to what lawyer characteristics are deemed to be “unrelated to legal competence” or what sorts of statements “impl[y] an ability to obtain results in a matter.” The vagueness of the rules creates a risk of self-censorship and arbitrary enforcement that cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment. Id. For this independent reason, the validity of which defendants effectively acknowledge, the amended rules are unconstitutional.

Additional links are at my prior posts linked above.

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