Big court victory for law firm consumers re online marketing and Google AdWords


This discusses a landmark case of first impression involving Google AdWords and online marketing of law firms.

This case, Habush Habush & Rottier vs. Cannon & Dunphy, involves the two most prominent personal injury firms in Wisconsin. One of them, Cannon & Dunphy, used a Google AdWords strategy to bid on the name of the state's largest PI firm, Habush Habush & Rottier.

The Habush firm sued Cannon & Dunphy under a Wisconsin Invasion of Privacy law.

I testified as the defense's law firm marketing expert, in part that this type of AdWords campaign:

1. Offers consumers more choice, which is important,

2. Helps small, skilled firms compete against the big-dollar advertisers, and

3. Is aggressive, but not unreasonably so.

This decision is a big win for consumers looking for lawyers. Injured victims who conduct Google searches for the large or well-known law firms because they don’t know about any other lawyers, now can get valuable information about additional options and choices. If the plaintiffs had won, it would have kept valuable information away from the most vulnerable clients and consumers of legal services.

The court held that there was nothing "unreasonable" about this specific Sponsored Link conduct.

This is also an important win for law firm marketing and freedom of firms to market aggressively on the internet. Any other decision could have had a chilling effect on creative and effective marketing.

Ric Gass, the outstanding trial lawyer from Milwaukee's Gass Weber Mullins represented the defendants.

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