“Screwing Banks Since 1992”

screwOn January 7, 2016, the Supreme Court of Indiana imposed a thirty-day suspension on Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer Brent Welke for false and misleading advertising on his website and in the Yellow Pages. See In re Welke, No. 49S00-1505-DI-293 (Ind. Jan. 7, 2016). Targeting debtors, Welke boasted the following:

  • “Screwing Banks Since 1992”;
  • “Keep your property”;
  • “Stop wage garnishments”;
  • “Stop home foreclosure”;and
  • “Stop vehicle repossession.”

These ads were misleading, in part, because Welke promised more than he could possibly deliver to all would-be clients. Perhaps for this reason, Welke stipulated to his violations, removed the ads, and “promise[d] not us use such language in the future.” Id.

Had this conduct occurred in Louisiana, it clearly would have violated the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 7.2(c), provides that a lawyer “shall not make or permit to be made a false, misleading or deceptive communication about the lawyer, the lawyer’s services or the law firm’s services.” An advertisment violates this rule, among other things, if it is “misleading or deceptive,” or if it “promises results.”