Ambulance-chasing lawyers are nothing new, but a New Jersey lawyer may have stooped to a new low in his direct-marketing efforts to land a client.
The Rockwall Herald-Banner highlights the case in a column about unscrupulous, often cheesy, lawyer advertising.
Despite the best efforts of bar administrators, lawyer ads that push the boundaries of bad taste continue to occur. In late July, 2009, New Jersey’s Committee on Attorney Advertising held a hearing to determine whether legal ethics lines were crossed by the placement of a lawyer’s flyer on the windshield of a rape victim’s car. The victim, known in court papers as K.D., had been sexually assaulted in December 2006 during an inspection of her federally subsidized apartment by a Newark Housing Authority employee. After K.D. reported her rape, four other female tenants came forward to testify about similar incidents, and the rapist was caught and sentenced on multiple counts. But about two months after the assault occurred, K.D. found an orange flyer on her car’s windshield from Fred Zemel’s Newark law firm touting the lawyer’s services to anyone who’d been the victim of “rape and assault in your building or apartment.”
Zemel says he wasn’t advertising to the rape victim in particular, just going about his usual business placing flyers on car windows. Objection overruled.