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Bonnie Frost Mentioned In Courthouse News Article, “Top NJ Court Tackles Trend of Lawyers Name As Ad Keywords.”

November 11, 2020

As published by Courthouse News, November 10, 2020
By Emilee Larkin

The Advisory Committee of Professional Ethics took up the inquiry last year to determine if such advertising practices violate the Rules of Professional Conduct by potentially misleading or deceiving consumers looking for an attorney.

For example, an advertiser could purchase the name of any lawyer as a keyword so that whenever that word is searched on a site such as Google, the ad buyer’s site appears at the top of the page as an advertisement, pushing the site of the named attorney further down the page.

The committee, appointed by the state Supreme Court, issued an opinion last June stating that this practice does not violate the advertising rules because consumers are not forced onto a certain attorney’s page.

“The user can choose which website to select and the search engine ordinarily will mark the keyword purchased website as paid or ‘sponsored’,” the opinion said. “This is not deceptive, fraudulent, or dishonest conduct within the meaning of the Rule of Professional Conduct.”

Argued this afternoon, however, before the seven-judge panel, the Bar Association’s attorney Bonnie Frost said this type of advertising practice preys on those who may be less tech-savvy.

“A lawyer who has purchased another lawyer’s name is deliberately targeting the unsophisticated in hopes that once they click on, they will stay on the site and engage,” said Frost, with the firm Einhorn Barbarito.

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