The Greenville News reported:
The South Carolina Supreme Court dismissed disciplinary charges Monday against an Upstate personal injury lawyer known for his catchy television ads, putting an end to a years-long legal battle over whether one of the attorney’s ads aired years ago made misleading promises about protecting jobs.
This investigation arose out of a letter from an anonymous complainant (most likely a competitor) that argued an advertisement Joel Bieber began running in December of 2003 left the impression that hiring Bieber would mean a client wouldn’t lose his job.
Joel Beiber’s ad stated this:
It’s not your fault that you were hurt on the job, but I know you’re afraid to file a job injury claim. You’re afraid your boss won’t believe you’re really hurt, or worse, that you’ll be fired. We’ll protect you against these threats and these accusations and work to protect your job.
Bieber, who pulled the ad following the complaint, stated that the ad asserted only that he would work to protect a job and offered no guarantees.
All lawyers, more specifically as it pertains to advertising personal injury lawyers, must adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct. Those Rules specifically outline communications lawyers can make as to their services.
A lawyer shall not make false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair communications about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication violates this rule if it:
(a) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading;
(b) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
(c) compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated;
(d) contains a testimonial; or
(e) contains a nickname, moniker, or trade name that implies an ability to obtain results in a matter.