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Lawyers fight it out


Chalk one up for free speech and self-promotion. On April 6, a federal appellate court sided with local attorney Steve Mason in his fight against the Florida Bar Association. The Bar said that Mason's 1998 Yellow Pages advertisement -- which cited his "highest rating" from a nationally renowned legal directory -- broke its rules against self-promotion.

Mason, who gained some notoriety representing Club Juana in its battle with Seminole County, sued. Basically Mason argued that the board allowed other lawyers to blatantly advertise themselves on the Internet. The judge ruled in the Bar's favor, but Mason appealed and won on the grounds that the Bar had failed to prove that Mason's ad misled anyone.

The Bar has 90 days to appeal. Regardless, the fight's not over. Mason's attorney, Terrance Kehoe, is seeking to recover roughly $20,000 in legal fees.