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Florida Bar Fights Over Cats and Dogs

At f/k/a/, David Giacalone continues his coverage of The Florida Bar's entry into the brave new world of regulating lawyer animal-tizing, er, advertising. By way of background, back in November 2005, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Bar's decision to prohibit the law firm of Pape and Chandler from using a pit bull as a mascot, finding it both demeaning and misleading (apparently, the Bar felt that consumers might confuse lawyers with pit bulls). Several months later, in February 2006, the Florida Bar's Standing Committee on Advertising held that the Panter Law Firm could not use a panther as a logo, for reasons similar to those given in the pit bull decision.  The Panter firm appealed to the Board of Governors, which reversed the Standing Committee's decision on a voice vote. Giacalone agrees with the outcome, but points out that the decision provides little guidance on what logos are permissible.

What next? Will Florida lawyers be required present expert evidence from veterinarians on a certain breed's temperament in order to justify use of an animal logo or mascot? Will someone challenge The Florida Bar's decision as discriminating against dogs in favor of cats? Ironically, in trying to elevate the dignity of the profession through regulation of ads, The Florida Bar is making lawyers look more and more like an animal that no one wants to resemble:  the dodo.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 26, 2007 at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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