TLR: A Manager’s Manager, And A Lawyer Too

Filed under Lawyers Who Do Non-lawyerly Things Well.

From the Law Blog. Read the full story here.

TLR: A Manager’s Manager, And A Lawyer Too

By Joe Palazzolo

A few words about Tony LaRussa, in the wake of the St. Louis Cardinals’ win last night over the Brewers. He’s been the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals for 16 seasons — making him the longest-tenured coach in the majors — is the third winningest coach in MLB history and just steered his team to their 18th NL pennant.

And if his name appears on this blog — TLR, 67, the match-up king — must also be something else: a lawyer.

(Disclosure: Your new LB writer is a St. Louis native, and his views about LaRussa are his own.)

Many of you already know the story, but for those who don’t it goes like this: LaRussa, a middling minor leaguer, enrolled at Florida State Universty College of Law and earned his J.D. in 1974. He passed the Florida bar but put off his legal career to ride the buses in the minor leagues, after accepting a managing position with the Chicago White Sox AA-squad.

Then, in 1979, LaRussa got called up to The Show, at the age of 34. His first couple seasons as the Sox’ manager were uninspiring, but by 1983 he had hoisted the team to the top of the division with 99 wins. Fired by the White Sox in 1986 after a lackluster start, he was picked up by Oakland Athletics, whom he led to three consecutive AL pennants and a Word Series title in 1989. Another crown with the Cardinals followed, in 2006.

The lawyer-turned-manager has had a few brushes with the law in his career. He sued Twitter in 2009, after someone created a fake account in his name and made light of drunken driving — to which he pleaded guilty in 2007 — and the deaths of two Cardinals pitchers. TLR later dropped the suit against the micro-blogging site, without compensation.

LBers, we like stories about lawyers who do non-lawyerly things well. Like managing a baseball team. If you’ve got other examples, send them our way. We’d like to make this a regular feature.

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Florida Court Strikes Down Limits on Lawyer Advertising

Looks like we’ll be seeing more lawyer ads on TV.  Were Florida’s restrictions on attorney advertising too fussy, or do you think advertising “cheapens” the profession?

From The Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Read the full story here.

By Nathan Koppel

Florida in the past has had some of the nation’s strictest limits on advertising by lawyers.

The state, for example, prohibits attorneys from running ads that are “manipulative” or that include “any background sound other than instrumental music.”

On Friday, Florida federal judge Marcia Morales Howard ruled that these ad restrictions violate lawyers’ First Amendment rights.

The ruling will please many plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Sunshine State, who long have criticized the state’s ad rules as antiquated and overly fussy. Other attorneys in the state, however, applaud the rules, believing that advertising cheapens the reputation of lawyers. (Click here to see a previous WSJ article on the Florida bar’s restrictive ad rules.)

Howard’s ruling arises in a suit brought by Jacksonville plaintiffs’ lawyer William Harrell Jr. He filed suit in 2008 after the Florida bar concluded that an advertising slogan he wanted to use, “Don’t settle for less than you deserve,” was overly laudatory. The bar later reversed course, allowing Harrell to use the slogan, but he continued to press ahead with his constitutional challenge to the state’s advertising rules.

Judge Howard largely sided with Harrell, including his objection to the state prohibition on “manipulative” ads. “The term ‘manipulative’ is so vague that it fails to adequately put members of the Bar on notice of what types of advertisements are prohibited,” the judge wrote, declaring the standard void. The judge likewise struck down the ban on background sounds, concluding the rule violates Harrell’s free speech rights.

Harrell applauded the ruling. “The bar rules were so vague, you couldn’t understand what they meant,” he told the Law Blog. “An ad can’t be manipulative? What does that mean? By definition, advertising to some degree is designed to persuade and manipulate.”

Barry Richard, a lawyer for the Florida bar, told the Law Blog that the ruling would have a limited impact in Florida, because the bar already had proposed changing its rules to get rid of the bans on background sounds and manipulative ads.

“I recommended to the bar that the ruling not be appealed,” he said. “This is very conscientious, smart judge, and it is a well-reasoned opinion.”