Rule changes miss important update

October 15, 2010
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I’m happy that Indiana has finally entered the 21st century with its lawyer advertising rules and modernized the approach. The last time the rules had been touched, I was watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. That’s a long time ago.

While the rules touch on important subjects, including “ambulance chasers,” they don’t address a pressing issue with lawyers. There isn’t a review panel in place right now for lawyer advertising. Attorneys who want to advertise know what the guidelines are, but if they have questions, there’s no guarantee they’ll get an answer from the Disciplinary Commission.

A 2008 article in Indiana Lawyer about this topic points to inconsistencies in handling advertising that violates Rules of Professional Conduct. One way to fix this would be to create a review system for pre-approval of ads, but that’s never gotten steam. Research showed expenses ranged from $200,000 to $600,000 for this type of system. In a cash-strapped time, it’s not seen as a high priority.

That’s unfortunate because a lawyer’s credibility is on the line. Any lawyer that wants to advertise should educate himself or herself on the applicable rules and seek answers if they are unsure of something. It’s a shame that the commission that regulates the advertising can’t provide concrete answers on advertising on a consistent basis. While there may be some attorneys trying to skirt the line with their advertising, others appear to just make genuine mistakes. And if you’re caught breaking the rules, you’ll most likely be disciplined.

Even $200,000 right now is too much to spend, but if the Supreme Court or Indiana State Bar Association or other organization can come up with a way to fund a review system for pre-approval of lawyer advertising, I think it’s a good step to take.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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