There's a lot of reaction to the Supreme Court of Florida decision to sanction lawyers for their use of Pit Bulls in their advertisements, and it ranges from critical to scathing. That may be expected from lawyers, most of whom now use various client development methods to get business while a few others tend to embrace the First Amendment. Take a look at Carol Elefant's blog, My Shingle, for a dialogue between lawyers on the court's obligation to protect the public and its over-reaching protectionism. All but one of those posting comments is critical of the decision. No one is as critical as David Giacalone, who has a contest to find a symbol for Florida's high court. Contenders include a number of birds - the dodo, the cuckoo and the ostrich. Yikes.
But lawyers aren't the only ones troubled by The Florida Bar v. Pape. The voice of the public, as filtered through newspaper editorials, has shown the decision is not popular in the court of public opinion. The Pantagraph, in Central Illinois, ran an editorial asking if the court would have preferred kittens or teddy bears? "We would agree the ad does nothing to enhance the legal profession, but neither does the Florida Supreme Court's lack of a sense of humor." The St. Petersburg Times was more pointed. It stated the harm in question was the dignity of the legal profession, but the real harm was to the First Amendment. "But the court is kidding only itself if it thinks that censoring the profession's advertising will make lawyers look like pussycats to the people who have felt their claws."