Monday, November 21, 2005

Is it good to be considered a pit bull in the courtroom?

The Florida Supreme Court has sanctioned two attorneys for using a pit bull in their advertising (and in their phone number, 1-800-PIT-BULL) because the ads "demean all lawyers and thereby harm both the legal profession and the public's trust and confidence in our system of justice." Florida Bar v. Chandler.

Carolyn Elefant has a post on MyShingle (her blog for solo practitioners) (that's where I got the link to the case -- thanks!). My Shingle: An Ethics Decision for the Dogs She includes ads from a firm that uses a Golden Retriever and an elephant and wristwatch with Georgetown's cartoon bulldog. Demeaning? She concludes "What a silly decision." There are several interesting comments, at least one defending the court's position.

Before going to MyShingle, I'd looked for a news story about the case. (I saw an AP snippet over the weekend.) One of the first things I found was:

Ed Gillespie was called ''President Bush's pit bull'' during the 2004 presidential campaign, when as chairman of the Republican National Committee he seemed to live on cable television trading snarls with Terry McAuliffe, his attack dog of a counterpart at the Democratic National Committee.
New York Times, July 6, 2005. (If you Google Gillespie pit bull, you'll see a bunch of examples.) It doesn't seem that he minds this -- or that Republicans as a whole feel demeaned because the chairman of the Republican Party has that nickname. It's ironic, because during the heat of the presidential campaign, it seemed that "trial lawyer" was used as an insult, but "pit bull" was a term of respect.

PS As a UW Husky, I considered finding dog images to match Elefant's Georgetown bulldog, but time is short. Go Dawgs.

PPS (Nov. 27) David Giacalone at f/k/a ethicalEsq offers a more current example of "pit bull" as a compliment for a Republican: President Bush's description of Harriet Miers as "a pit bull in size 6 shoes."

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1 comment:

ddg said...

I desperately need a pit bull attorney of my own here in NYC have been bullied and beaten up by too many lawyers -- if you're out there please get in touch asap! Have only a few days left so please hurry up!!