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Hamlet & Lawyer Advertising

Ah Hamlet, the famous line, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” came to mind last in the context of lawyers, lawyer advertising, and the Rules of Ethics. As many people know, the majority of our firm’s clients are lawyers and law firms, who trust us to provide ethical guidance, as well as representation before the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. I also write and lecture about ethics for various publications legal. One of my most recent ethics columns, in The Philadelphia Lawyer, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s award-winning magazine, discussed changes to the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct relating to attorney advertising. My opinion was that because no attorney has ever been disciplined for violating the advertising rules, changing them (and making them far weaker in my opinion) would be a meaningless gesture.

Click here to read my column. You can come to your own conclusion.

One lawyer read the column and accused me of  “using a professional periodical to serve [my] own agenda. It also seems like an attempt to at best criticize our Firm/your competitors, and at worst defame them for being unethical and violating the rules of professional responsibility.”

My agenda, as I responded, is “that we should have Rules that are enforced, enforceable, and complied with.” Lots of Rules apply to lawyers; in fact everything we do involves Rules. Yet it remains my belief that the advertising Rules aren’t enforced. As my column noted, “Examination of the published disciplinary decisions on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court website confirms the absence of any public discipline for advertising rules violations.” In other words, no lawyers have ever been publicly disciplined for violating the Pennsylvania advertising Rules.

I then asked a few people if they thought my article was directed at any firm, any practice area, or any identifiable group other than lawyers whose advertisements appear to be contrary to the Rules. They thought my column was law firm neutral, and merely highlighted the opinion I have espoused for years. 

Thus, as one person noted, the lawyer doth protest too much.  

Oh, and ironically, one law firm I represent, for which I provide guidance about advertising content, including TV and radio, called for advice shortly after I heard from the other lawyer. They weren’t offended by my column.

I guess, again referring to Hamlet, it depends on whose petard is being hoisted.

Philadelphia Business Journal Honors Attorney Dan Siegel as “Best of the Bar” In Personal Injury Litigation

The Philadelphia Business Journal has named Attorney Daniel J. Siegel a “Best of the Bar” Honoree in the area of Plaintiff Personal Injury.

In addition to having great success with individual workers’ compensation and personal injury matters, Dan is being honored because of his numerous appellate victories over the past year, cases that have dramatically expanded the rights of injured workers and others.

Dan will receive his Award at a ceremony on Thursday, October 25th. He is one of only three personal injury attorneys being honored, and the only appellate lawyer being honored in this category.

Click here for more information.

Attorney Christa Frank High Joins Firm

We are pleased to announce that Attorney Christa Frank High has joined the firm. Ms. High is a litigator, with a broad background representing clients in personal injury, civil and commercial litigation.

Ms. High has also represented numerous clients in employment law, education law, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC)/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) matters, as well as higher education, university student disciplinary proceedings, class actions, employment, Title VII, consumer protection, contract disputes, and defamation.

A 2007 graduate of Temple University School of Law (cum laude), Christa received her bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College. She is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and a volunteer attorney for the Support Center for Child Advocates.

Click here to send an email to Christa High, Esquire.

We Represent Lawyers In Disciplinary & Professional Guidance Matters – They Just Can’t Say Who They Are

Attorneys must maintain confidentiality, which means we cannot disclose client information (including the names of our clients) without their consent.

One type of client never wants or permits their names to be used – clients we represent who either have charges brought against them by the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board or the many law firms for which we provide confidential ethical guidance about how to handle sensitive matters to avoid having charges brought against them by the Disciplinary Board.

And these clients never brag that we were able to convince Disciplinary Counsel not to pursue charges or that we won their disciplinary proceeding. In addition, firms won’t brag that we provided counsel in sensitive situations that lawyers deal with all the time, but which are fraught with repurcussions if they don’t handle them according to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

So we are pleased that one of our attorney clients (who shall remain nameless) was pleased enough with our representation (the Disciplinary Board charges against him were dismissed) that he offered the following review:

“I would like to thank Dan Siegel and his law firm for an excellent result in a legal matter they handled for me.  Their hard work, combined with legal expertise, carried the day to a successful conclusion.”

In those God forbid situations when you or your firm needs representation before the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board, or you are confronted with a situation requiring ethical guidance, give us a call. We can’t promise results, but we can promise to handle your matter thoroughly and discreetly. And because we are located in the suburbs, and don’t have the overhead of a Center City office, our fees are more reasonable than those of the larger firms who handle similar matters. Give us a call.

Pa. Supreme Court, Citing Dan Siegel’s Brief, Issues Landmark Car Accident Ruling

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today that, in car accidents claims against Pennsylvania governments and governmental agencies, “operation of a vehicle” is the continuum of activity from when a vehicle begins its journey until it reaches its final destination.  This case will impact every auto accident claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, every municipality, and every governmental agency, such as SEPTA.

In the case, known as Balentine, the Supreme Court specifically cited and adopted the standard suggested by Attorney Daniel J. Siegel of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, who authored the Amicus/Friend of the Court Brief for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice. The Opinion reverses 30 years of inconsistent and illogical decisions, and creates a uniform and logical standard for evaluating the responsibility of a governmental entity in motor vehicle accident cases. Our law firm is proud that over the past 13 years since we opened, our cases have protected and expanded the rights of more injured workers and car accident victims than those of any other law firm in Pennsylvania! Last year, our Pennsylvania Supreme Court case expanded the statute of limitations in all uninsured and underinsured motorist cases.

The Opinion in Balentine specifically cited Attorney Dan Siegel’s Brief, “The approach set forth in the Warrick dissent, as advocated for by Amicus Curiae Pennsylvania Association for Justice, does not contradict the ‘intent of the Tort Claims Act to insulate local government agencies from liability.'”

Click here to read the Opinion in Balentine v. Chester Water Authority.

Click here to read Dan Siegel’s Brief.

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