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February 01, 2007

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Randy L. Braun

Dear Nicole:

I've recently discovered your blog and wish to thank you for a very informative and enjoyable read.

I'd like to comment with respect to the issue of whether business cards constitute attorney advertising. IMHO, I don't think that they do in most circumstances.

Under the new rules, an "advertisement" is defined, in pertinent part, as "any public or private communication made by or on behalf of a lawyer or law firm about that lawyer or law firm's services." As I read it, if a business card contains the lawyer's name, address and other contact information (e.g., fax and phone), it falls outside of this definition since such information is not about the lawyer or law firm's "services." If, on the other hand, the business card contains additional information such as a slogan, hyperbole or other puffery, it could be construed as an advertisement. I think the distinction between these two examples is an important one in view of the intent behind the new rules which is, as stated in the press release appearing on the NYSBA website, "to protect consumers from inappropriate, misleading, or overly-aggressive advertisements."

In either event, it's a slippery slope on which we, as lawyers, must now tread even more carefully than before.

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