Tag Archives: Wolfe Law Group

Remembering Katrina: Stones Taught Me To Fly

Hurricane Katrina delayed my bar results, destroyed my house and changed my plans. It’s hard to believe that 5 years have gone by, and it’s been about that long since I’ve looked at these pictures. They were taken in the months after the storm, when I was starting Wolfe Law Group and getting back on track.

A lot of our family, friends and colleagues have had a very difficult half-decade. Hurricane Katrina’s effects are fading, but they aren’t gone. Just from my own personal experience in the legal profession, I can see the storm’s impact lingering as the subject of on-going litigation.

The city is, however, making it along. And I feel quite lucky to have a great staff, great clients and great family and friends, who without which, Wolfe Law Group could not be the success it is today. Thanks to all of you.

Click on any photo in the main window to see description. For great professional photos, see this story from Boston.com.

I beat the Louisiana Bar…and it was cool

On a chilly evening in November of last year, I was sitting aside a fireplace in Seattle, Washington, and reading literature from the Louisiana State Bar Association explaining its new lawyer advertising regulations. It got me riled.

It was clear that the Louisiana bar wanted to regulate personal injury advertising, but the animosity it harbored for this style of advertising had blinded its duty to its membership…and to me. Particularly, my complaint was with it’s regulation of speech by attorneys on the Internet.

Hoping to prevent personal injury attorneys from posting “disgraceful” ads online, the bar passed a far-reaching rule that restricted all attorney communication on the net. The regs were a bit complex, but here is a summary: If you’re an attorney, and you say something online, it’s regulated.

The rule was so out-of-this-world unconstitutional, I can hardly believe the bar spent its entrusted funds to fight it.

I suppose there are two reasons it did so: (1) It was blinded by its disdain of personal injury ads; and (2) It was clueless about how the Internet actually worked.

After a nine-month constitutional battle, the Louisiana Eastern District Court agreed with our position, and the state was enjoined from enforcing the component of its rules regulating attorney speech online.

In retrospect, the entire experience was fun. There I was, less than 4 years out of law school, as a lone plaintiff against the Louisiana State Bar Association. Standing before the district court judge, I could barely remember how I stumbled into the situation.

The experience was eye-opening, too. A small faction within the powers-that-be in the Louisiana bar single-handily decided to over-regulate attorneys, and it took a lot of work (and unfortunately, thousands of dollars) to stop it. Shouldn’t the bar association be more responsible to its membership? I found the bar surprisingly stubborn about its position, even though it had no support.

Word is that the bar will go back to the drawing board on Internet regulations. Someone asked me a few months back what would be a fair regulation of attorney communications online. My answer was that bar associations should regulate in response to an actual problem, and not because because they’re interested in having a regulation. If they can’t identify a problem…how are they going to successfully regulate the non-existent problem?

As the bar prepares to take a second shot at Internet regulation, I hope they do their homework. They owe it to their membership, and to me.

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I kept a blog about the progress of this suit, which you can read at http://www.protectspeech.com. You can also check our some of the press we got here:

Forbes Magazine: Lawyers Say Limits on their ads unconstitutional

Lawyers USA: Judge Rules on Louisiana Advertising Rules

ABA Journal: Judge Strikes Down Louisiana Ad Restrictions on Lawyer Internet Ads

JDScoop: Explaining the Court Decision and Order

A Week of Publicity

I’m going to be in the middle of a good bit of publicity this week.

First, as you may or may not know, I’ve filed suit against the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board in the Fall to 2008 to challenge the constitutionality of their new regulations of attorney advertisements.

We argue that the regulations go too far in the restrictions they impose on attorneys who use the internet to communicate…and advertise. We created an entire blog dedicated to tracking its progress, which you can visit at http://www.protectspeech.com.

  • On Monday, we’ll be filing our Motion for Summary Judgment in the federal suit against the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board. We’ll post a copy on our JDSupra page.
  • On Thursday, I’ll be among the faculty for an American Bar Association legal ethics teleconference (with CLE credit) titled: Ethical Implications of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World: From Facebook to LinkedIn, Websites to Blogs. More information on the teleconference (including how to sign up) here.

Second, Chinese Drywall is rampant in the news these days, and our firm has tried to lead legal discussion on the topic with our Chinese Drywall Blog. We’ll be discussing the Chinese Drywall situation, and the status of Chinese Drywall litigation in two venues:

Interview on New Orleans’ Fox 8 about Chinese Drywall

Chinese Drywall is a big story in the Louisiana and Florida construction industry, as well as in the construction law practice area. According to stories from CNN and Time Magazine, thousands of homeowners are complaining about Chinese Drywall producing a foul odor in their home, ruining their air conditioning systems and electrical wiring, and even causing damage to the home’s building elements.

This is worrying contractors and building suppliers across the country, who may be implicated in the inevitable litigation.

As a construction attorney in New Orleans, LA, Scott was interviewed by Fox 8 news about how contractors and suppliers are implicated in the crisis. Here is the video:

Photos Added from Bacchus Ball

Doug was in town from our Seattle office, and we all went to the Bacchus Ball over the weekend to celebrate the carnival season. We posted about the ball on our Wolfe Law Rocks website here, .

A slideshow of photos from the event are embedded below.

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