"The Dirt" on a law firm breakup was never more entertaining. Let's hear it for lawyers with a sense of humor!

“The Dirt” on a law firm breakup was never more entertaining. Let’s hear it for lawyers with a sense of humor!

A magazine is made of many great parts (I’m a big fan, as you might guess). But too often we tout only the “edit” side of the magazine—that is, all of the parts that are not advertising.

As I look back over my writing, I see that’s the case. I’ve praised stories, writing, authors, photos, design—but not ads.

In one way, that’s understandable: I really have nothing to do with the ads. As at many publications, we have a (conceptual) wall between “edit” and “ads.” Getting your content into one side in no way relates to getting your content into the other.

Therefore, I see the ads very late in the production process, often at proof stage. That’s where I can see how the ads lay out, and we can determine if there are any awkward “adjacencies,” either in content or design/color/look.

But once the issue comes out, I read those ads closely. Sure, I appreciate them beyond measure, as the revenue they represent makes our magazine be “in the black.” But I appreciate them for a deeper reason: They serve our readers as much as the edit does.

Besides their service value, they also teach me a lot. It’s not uncommon that upon reading an ad I learn something I didn’t know, or that I get a story lead. They can often be idea-generators.

And, every now and then, they make me pause in admiration. Some are simply gorgeous ads; others are evocative or revealing. And some make me laugh.

In future posts, I may mention what I’ve seen in regard to the first two categories. But “make me laugh” I will cover today.

The humorous ad that grabbed me came from a law firm, recently formed via a break-up of one firm into two. This may be less common than a merger, but it is still a staple of legal-profession communications, and rarely makes me slow down as I read.

But the joint ad of Lang & Klain and Baker Law Offices was different.

Here, first, is their full ad, as it appeared on proof:

An ad regarding the break-up of a single law firm into two ...

An ad regarding the break-up of a single law firm into two …

And there, at the bottom of the ad, was a rather unique inscription:

Curious about the break-up? Visit http://lang-klain.com/thedirt

Here’s the close-up:

... contained an eye-opening surprise for the careful reader.

… contained an eye-opening surprise for the careful reader.

Cheeky, that!

When you head over to that site, you can read a very witty series of FAQs about the firm’s break-up.

To read more about the firm in its more buttoned-down approach, go to their (two!) law firm websites for Lang & Klain and for Baker Law Offices.

What ads have made you stop in your tracks, in Arizona Attorney or elsewhere? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in two combined Arizona cases, which together comprise what we’d call the Clean Elections case.

As SCOTUSBlog originally announced (and the ABA Journal passed on), the 5–4 decision found the Arizona law an unconstitutional infringement of free speech.

Here are the opinion and dissent (in PDF).

I have not yet read the opinion, so I cannot tell if it relied on any of the arguments stated in a pro–con on the topic we ran in the November 2010 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

But I would be curious about one thing: How many of the Court’s opinions or dissents through history have used the word “chutzpah,” as Justice Kagan did in her dissent:

This suit … may merit less attention than any challenge to a speech subsidy ever seen in this Court. In the usual First Amendment subsidy case, a person complains that the government declined to finance his speech, while bankrolling someone else’s. … But the candidates bringing this challenge do not make that claim—because they were never denied a subsidy. Arizona, remember, offers to support any person running for state office. Petitioners here refused that assistance. So they are making a novel argument: that Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financial assistance. Some people might call that chutzpah.

This case, and the Court’s other recent campaign-funding jurisprudence, means one thing for sure: We will be covering the topic in future issues.