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First Louisiana, Now Oregon?

In 2008, I filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana State Bar Association, which resulted in this post in August 2009:  I beat the Louisiana Bar…and it was cool.  In addition to being a licensed Louisiana attorney, I’m also a licensed attorney in Oregon, and therefore received the July 2013 Issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin publication which contained a section pleading for c”comments” on the “Proposed Advertising Rule Amendments.”

Uh-oh, I thought. My thoughts about bar associations and the needs they do or do not serve is at least a two drink story. I’m keeping this post pithy. The proposed Oregon rules are exactly as unconstitutional as the Louisiana rules struck down pursuant to my lawsuit.

Proposed Rule 7.2(c), for example, requires all “electronic communications” to “include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.”  Similarly, Rule 7.3(c) requires “every…electronic communication” to include “at the beginning and ending” of the communication to include the words “Advertising Materials.”

Just like the case in Louisiana, these two proposed provision in Oregon fail to access the risk of their non-existence, but more problematically fail to consider the nature and realities of the communications they seek to regulate.

Accordingly, in response to the request for comment, I sent the following to Helen Hierschbiel, Oregon State Bar’s General Counsel:

Dear Ms. Hierschbiel:

This email is sent in response to your office’s request for comments within the Oregon State Bar Bulletin (July 2013). I am a licensed attorney in Oregon, as well as a few other states, including Louisiana.

In 2008 / 2009, Louisiana amended their RPCs to more strictly regulate advertisements. I particular took issue with the requirements as they restricted freedom of speech through electronic communications (websites, blogs, twitter feeds, etc.). Therefore, I filed a federal lawsuit against the bar association: Scott G Wolfe Jr, et al v. Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, et al, United States Eastern District Court, No. 08-4994.

After a Motion for Summary Judgment, the court ruled in our favor and declared the Louisiana rules unconstitutional as they related to electronic communications. See: Order and Reasons.

Today, in response to the Oregon Request for Comments, I write with most concern for Rule 7.2(c), which provides that “Any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.”

Since “communication” is previously defined as “written, recorded or electronic,” this provision is eerily similar to the provision that caused concern in Louisiana and ultimately led to its unconstitutionality.

In promulgating these rules, the Oregon Board of Governors must consider the character and nature of the communications it seeks to regulate. With specific regard to electronic communications, it appears that Oregon would be making the same mistake as Louisiana, for at least the following two reasons:

(1) I suspect that Oregon, like Louisiana, will not be able to show any harm caused to any consumers as a result of any electronic communications by attorneys; and

(2) Oregon will not be able to justify the requirements of Rule 7.2(c) in electronic communications, which, unlike print and traditional advertisements, oftentimes have character limitations.

The same problems arise with respect to proposed RPC 7.3(c).

I’m happy to discuss these issues with any contacts at Oregon further.

Best,

Scott Wolfe Jr. (092642)

We’ll see what happens…

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Tuesday

Paris Buildings

Staring at the Euro coin on my café table, I remember when this country exchanged the Franc.  That’s when you know you’re old: when you can reminisce about a previous currency. When I first visited Paris the Euro wasn’t even a sparkle in Brussels’ eye…

So, I walk around in this town. This morning I stopped in my tracks to turn around and look up at a cathedral. Wow. Hundreds and hundreds of local passer-byers walk right by, and right past me. The same phenomenal piece of architecture, but just less care. Then something else on the roadway reminds me of a spot in New Orleans, one I likely often walk by without notice.

Playing through my earbuds is All You Can Eat by Ben Folds.

Son, look at all the people in this restaurant
What do you think they weigh?
And out the window into the parking lot
At their SUV’s taking all of this space

They give no fuck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there’s enough for them

Gonna get on the microphone down at Wal-Mart
Talk about some shit that’s been on my mind
Talk about the state of this great nation of ours
People look to your left, yeah, and look to your right

They give no fuck
They buy as much as they would want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there’s enough for them

Son, look at the people lining up for plastic
Wouldn’t you like to see ‘em in the National Geographic
Squatting bare assed in the dirt eating rice from a bowl
With a towel on their head and maybe bone in their nose

See that asshole with a ‘Peace’ sign on his license plate
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane
God made us number one ’cause he loves us the best
But he should go bless someone else for a while and give us a rest

(They give no)
Yeah, and everyone can see
(They give no)
We’ve eaten all that we can eat

Ah, this world.

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I Didn’t Ask For This

There is division in my soul, between good and evil, and I’m not sure which is real.

Life. My breath. Another one. Another one. My daughter’s breath on my neck as she falls asleep. The tears that well up in my eyes when I negotiate between crying or staying stone faced at something that reminds me of her smile. These are the good things, right? These are the things that remind me that life is beautiful and trustworthy.

Then there are things that make you wonder how the world even functions. Can you trust the integrity of anything or anyone?

I wish I were one of those people who knew nothing about the depths of corruption and ignorance in my community, and our society.

Ah, but I do.

So do I fight for something better, for her? Or do I resign to a sad and potentially inevitable reality?

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WSJ v. NYT iPad Apps

It’s Saturday morning, and so there I am on my couch browsing through the week’s news on my iPad, coffee in hand. I shuffle allegiance between two news apps, both of which require a monthly subscription: The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Subscribing to both papers ensures I always have mounds of articles to read, and that I’m never stuck behind a pay wall frustrated because I want to view a particular article. It’s not all that economical though, and considering the narrowing window of time available for such pleasures, it’s probably a good idea to just pick one.

As anyone trying to decide between the two of these apps can tell you, however, the choice is tough. There are pros and cons to each.

New York Times iPad App Is Beautiful…But Give Me Some Structure

Want to hear something great about the NYT’s iPad app: it’s beautiful and feature rich. For whatever reason, the graphics pop off the screen and the articles feel easier to read than other apps, and particularly the Wall Street Journal app. Another thing going for the New York Times app is the features. If you come across a word you don’t know, you can click it and have it defined. Text can easily be copied and pasted, and the app’s most recent update even integrates the publication’s wide selection of frequently updated blogs. It’s really a terrific reading experience.

There are two huge downsides to the New York Times app, however.

The first and biggest aggravation is that the app is always updating the content. Updating content is great, you may say….but, that’s not entirely true when talking about a newspaper. Sometimes, you want to sit down and read the newspaper as it was published for that particular day. When you are viewing the NYT’s iPad app, you never know what the newspaper looked like on any particular day, and unless you “save” the article when you first see it, it may quickly disappear from those available to read before you ever get around to it. Contrast this to the Wall Street Journal app, which is discussed below, and I think the Journal has the right idea.

The second aggravation is the app’s navigation. You can flip between sections, but getting from an open article back to the section index just feels unnatural. Again, the Journal app has this done right.

The Wall Street Journal Functions Perfectly…But Give Me Some Beauty

The best thing about the WSJ iPad app is that you can open it up and view the newspaper exactly as it was printed on any given day, and the app actually keeps track of the previous week’s editions.  So, as is the case with me frequently, I can open my WSJ iPad app on Saturday morning and catch up on Wednesday’s, Thursday’s or Friday’s news. The articles aren’t going anywhere, I don’t have to guess what was published when, or deal with any of that non-sense. I open the app, I select the day of interest, and there it is.  When I feel like getting the most current Journal content, I can view the “Right Now” edition, which is a lot like the NYT’s all the time without giving you a choice edition.

The other great feature on the WSJ app is that navigation is very, very easy.  Swipe up or down to switch sections, swipe up to go from an article to the section index, swipe left to right to go from article to article, and you can always navigation a section with the article index on the right-hand side of the screen.  The Journal’s app has great user-friendly navigation.

The WSJ doesn’t, however, have the beauty of the NYT’s app.  The New York Times app makes much better use of white space to make reading easier on the eyes, and for whatever reason, the WSJ app does not let you select text, copy text or have a specific word defined.  It’s quite aggravating, and the lack of a dictionary alone makes me teeter towards favoring the New York Times app.

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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.

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Why Am I Staring Into Outer Space?

Remember how updated this site was when I was 19? Scary.

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Lombardi Gras!

Did you hear the news? Of course.

The Saints are world champions! New Orleans is a bona fide place to live again. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are geniuses! All this and we’re smack in the middle of Carnival season.

After screaming privately for the game, we went out to the quarter to watch the pandemonium there. In all my years (younger years) of partying on Bourbon during Mardi Gras, I’ve never ever seen the quarter so packed and electric. Normally, you can’t move on Bourbon. On that night, though, you could barely move on Royal. It was wicked packed.

I have a few You Tube videos on my channel here.

There’s no better place in the world to be for the next two weeks than in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s Carnival time, the weather is perfect, we’ve resoundingly and calmly elected our new mayor, and the Saints are Superbowl Champions.

Some pictures from the dubbed “Lombardi Gras” are up on my Flickr page, and here is a slide show:

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My Wife and My Camera

My wife gave me a new camera for Christmas (Canon Rebel), and I love it. So, I have re-ignited my old Flickr account and will be posting stuff there as regularly as possible. Here is my Recent Flickr PhotoStream:

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Stranger Than Fiction

“My dear fellow, life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outrageous results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”

Sherlock Holmes
A Case of Identity

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Scott Wolfe: Amateur

Through the tubular walkways of Paris’ metro stands a forty-something man with a grey beard. He is swinging in rythm with his accordian, which he plays above his open accordian chest. Inside are low value euro coins and a sign with the gentleman’s name, email address and this one word description: Amateur. Despite the description, and as far as accordians are concerned, the guy was damn good.

It got me to thinking about some of the persistent differences between Americans and Europeans.

It would be mighty rare to see an American label himself as an amateur anything. We have twenty-somethings (like me) strolling around in designer clothes and accessories who are experts in marketing, economics, music, law, entrepreneurism…what have you. From college graduation to the window office…never amateurs.

We’re likely fooled about this. I suppose I actually am an amateur at a whole lot. As a lawyer, a businessman, a husband, a grown up… A bit liberating to admit that actually. Time to change the business card – Scott Wolfe: Amateur.

But of course, damn good.

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