Attorney Ad Rules Spark Unusual Collaboration Between Judges, Bar (

John Caher
New York Law Journal

The involvement of the bar in the formulation of new attorney advertising restrictions marked an unprecedented collaboration between the legal community and court administrators, and one entered into with considerable consternation, a top judge revealed Thursday.

Eugene F. Pigott Jr., now a judge of the New York Court of Appeals, said the presiding justices were reluctant to solicit opinions from the bar in drafting a new disciplinary rule on advertising, largely because they had never done so before. But ultimately the judges “knew what we didn’t know” and began a cooperative venture, he said.

Pigott, who was presiding justice of the Appellate Division, 4th Department, when the new rules were first crafted, suggested ground may have been broken for a new relationship between the rule makers and practitioners.

“This was the first time we ever asked for input,” Pigott said yesterday at the New York State Bar Association’s annual meeting. “But I think we knew what we didn’t know, and we didn’t really know how it would impact practice.”

The presiding justices last June proposed amending the code of professional conduct to add sweeping new restrictions on attorney advertising. However, rather than just impose the rules, the justices opened a comment period. Approximately 100 attorneys and virtually all of the major bar groups expressed concerns, which are reflected in the final product. (more…)