Ryan J. Gaffney recently argued before the Supreme Court of New Jersey in the matter In Re Opinion No. 735 of the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics. The appeal arose from an ethics opinion on internet advertising by attorneys. Specifically, the Supreme Court heard argument on the question of “whether an attorney, consistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct, may purchase from an internet search engine company a keyword that is a competitor lawyer’s name in order to display the purchasing lawyer’s own website in the search results when a person searches for the competitor lawyer by name.”
Appearing on behalf of amicus curiae New Jersey Defense Association, Ryan argued that trading on another’s reputation through such an advertisement is incompatible with the high standards New Jersey holds for the legal profession, and that factual development is required to regulate commercial speech due to First Amendment concerns.
Ryan is an experienced litigator and appellate advocate with a number of successful appearances before New Jersey’s Appellate Division and Supreme Court.