BAD PRECEDENT: Lawyer censured for buying Google keywords for other law firms

 ABA Journal – “Lawyer censured for buying keywords for other lawyers and law firms.”

I thoroughly disagree with this anti-competitive, anti-consumer censure. It’s bad precedent. 

I was the defense’s law firm marketing/social media expert witness in Habush vs. Cannon & Dunphy on this very issue (although the lawsuit was filed under a Wisconsin state “invasion of privacy” statute).

Ric Gass for the Defense.

This is common practice online.  When you Google “Avis,” a sponsored link for Hertz shows up in the margin.  The user isn’t deceived and everyone gets more information and more choices, which is good for consumers.  It’s a strategy that helps smaller firms with smaller marketing budgets compete against big-name, big-budget firms.

This keyword-bidding strategy is certainly aggressive, but it shouldn’t be considered unethical or unprofessional; it’s simply an issue of taste, which is subjective.  We shouldn’t legislate taste.

I wrote about this on our blog HERE.

My lengthy expert witness report is posted on JD Supra (click HERE).

It includes dozens of screen shots and graphics. 

Click HERE for Judge Kahn’s Decision granting Summary Judgment.

Click HERE for the appellate court’s Opinion upholding the Decision.

Milwaukee’s terrific Ric Gass represented the defendants and did an amazing job clarifying the issues for the court.

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