According to this article, A New Trend Among Firms: Comparative Advertising, Leigh Jones, NLJ (5/4/05), large firms are taking off the kid gloves when it comes to marketing, including Oblon, Spivak’s ads that proclaim superiority over other biglaw competitors that are identified by name in the ad. That’s funny, because over at Legal Underground, Evan Schaeffer is directing readers to this post at Gerry Riskind’s blog on how the Florida bar came close to putting the kibosh on mid-sized firm Shuffield Lowman’s ad campaign that depicts the firm’s services as a double scoop of ice cream and its competitors as a single scoop. (unlike Oblon, Shuffield didn’t actually name the competition). Apparently, Shuffield’s ad was intended to suggest that the firm offers clients more than its competitors. But initially, the Florida Bar rejected the ad on grounds that Shuffield’s claims of superiority were “unsubstantiated.” The Bar reversed its decision on appeal.
I’m assuming that if Oblon’s ads pass ethical muster from the bar is they’re currently running and are the subject of an NLJ article. But just to be on the safe side, fellow solos, keep these articles handy. Call me paranoid, but I wonder how the bars will rule on an ethics complaint that’s brought by a large firm against a solo or small firm with an ad or a website that lists the small firm’s advantages over named biglaw competitors.