As discussed ad nauseum, the new New York rules for attorney advertising rules go into effect this week on February 1, 2007 (see prior post). Judge Pigott and Michael Wolford gave an excellent presentation on the rules and background about their formulation at this year's New York State Bar Association's Annual Meeting. Both presenters raised interesting points that gave an inside track about the rules.
Perhaps the most valuable gem was Judge Pigott's observation that the rules are more reactive than proactive. In response to audience members' rightfully concerned questioning and parsing of the rules, Judge Pigott gave me the impression that attorneys should not engage on prior restraint and agonize over hyper-technical violations of the rules. I didn't get the impression that Judge Pigott was telling the audience to treat the rules as loose guidelines, but I did get the impression that he was telling the audience members to use reason and judgment when certain material could technically fall into the rules' gray areas (e.g., weblogs, webpages, and electronic newsletters primarily focused for education but with secondary purpose of marketing).
Michael Wolford of Wolford and Leclair LLP also raised the excellent point that the rule-making process in this case was unique because the Presiding Justices sought the input of practitioners and public. Mr. Wolford stated that he hoped that this practice of reaching out to practitioners continued for future rule-making procedures. Judge Pigott offered a real promising insight as to why the Justices did so, stating that they knew what they didn't know (alluding to the Justices' recognition that certain technological advances and the impact the rules would have on them were beyond their expertise). That the Justices recognized their limitations is reflected in the changes that were made regarding the rules as they now stand (see red-lined version of rules), providing for more technologically-friendly rules.
On a related note, Jim Milles over at Buffalo Wings & Toasted Ravioli was gracious enough to host another recent podcast about the new advertising rules (here prior podcast here and most recent podcast here). As with the prior podcast, Bill Altreuter of Outside Counsel, Nicole Black of Sui Generis, and I participated in the podcast. Unfortunately, this podcast was hosted before I attended Mr. Wolford and Judge Pigott's presentation.