25 Nov

Louisiana lawyers prohibited from blogging and other online activities

Lawyers are restricted in their advertising efforts. That’s not new. But what is new is a law that was passed in Louisiana. Starting early next year, lawyers in Louisiana will be prohibited from blogging, tweeting, participating in online message boards, and engaging in other online activities. Lawmakers claim this is consumer protection, but it seems more like a law created by people fearful of the internet.

One law firm is taking on the lawmakers, and has filed suit in federal court to challenge the law. This will be an interesting case to watch. The press release about the lawsuit:

NEW ORLEANS, LA (PRWEB.Com) November 24, 2008 — This morning, Wolfe Law Group, L.L.C. filed a suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Louisiana’s new rules governing lawyer advertising.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the enforcement of Louisiana’s new advertising rules, scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2009. The Louisiana advertising rules are some of the most aggressive in the nation, and Wolfe Law Group’s suit argues that the rules go too far and restrict an attorney’s right to freely speak about its trade.

Wolfe Law Group argues that the new rules effectively prevent a lawyer from advertising its services through online mediums, such as Google’s Adwords, as the rules also restrict an attorney’s ability to engage in discourse with colleagues, clients and the public through online bulletin boards, blogs, twitter, and other online communities and forums.

The law firm that practices in the area of construction law out of its offices in New Orleans, Louisiana and Seattle, Washington, is actively engaged in the Internet marketplace, posting daily on sites like wolfelaw.com, Twitter, Facebook, Avvo.com, and similar web 2.0 services.

The suit argues that Louisiana’s new advertising rules would subject each of the firm’s posts to an “evaluation” by the Louisiana State Bar Association, with an evaluation fee of $175.00.

According to a letter sent to Wolfe Law Group’s colleagues and clients, “the new rules would stifle our firm’s ability to continue talking with you about the legal profession, the construction industry and the evolution of construction law across the nation.”

To continue commenting upon the progress of the action, the firm launched a blog titled “Blogging is Speaking,” at the web address http://www.protectspeech.com.

For a copy of the lawsuit, click here.

Find the cause on Facebook here.

Wolfe Law Group, L.L.C. is a construction law firm with offices in Seattle, Washington and New Orleans, Louisiana. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Case No. 08-4994, Section F, Magistrate 2.

4 thoughts on “Louisiana lawyers prohibited from blogging and other online activities

  1. This is stupid. What are these laws supposed to protect from? Why can he get behind a podium and speak, but he can’t blog the same thing?

    There have been stupid laws regarding CPA for years. For instance, are moving into a new office early next year. On the front of the building, we are alotted X amount of space for signage based on the building, our association, etc. The CPA board REQUIRES that the only name that we may display is the EXACT legal name of our firm, which turns out to be Bordeaux & Bordeaux, CPAs, PA. There is absolutely no way to fit it on the sign.

  2. I think that the laws simply aren’t keeping up with the times. Ask any older attorney, and I bet they will say that blogging and Web 2.0 are stupid. (And that they know next to nothing about them.) But they are savvy enough to know that those things might give another attorney a competitive advantage, so let’s outlaw it. (Never mind that the competitive advantage is well-deserved if the attorney is putting out good content.)

  3. Tracy…

    Aren’t most politicians lawyers? Barack Obama is a lawyer, so is the first lady. To prevent a lawyer from blogging and expressing their views through some shortsighted law works to retard the democratic process, not further it. What is next, shutting down the Internet for politicians? Might a politician who doesn’t happen to be a lawyer, have a distinct advantage over a one who happens to practice law, at least in Louisiana?

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