“This song was put together in celebration of Nixon Peabody’s Fortune 100 ‘Best Places to Work’ recognition. Nixon Peabody aims to be the best law firm to work with and the best law firm to work for. Fun is not prohibited here.”
Fair enough. But then we spoke with two firm spokespersons by telephone. They called us.
It wasn’t a very “[f]un” conversation. They weren’t happy campers. Even if they may be winners, since “everyone’s a winner at Nixon Peabody.”
They emphasized that the song was internal to the firm and is protected by copyright. They also insisted that it is NOT a “theme song” — in any way, shape or form.
They demanded to know who sent the song to us. We informed them that we don’t reveal our sources, unless served with a subpoena (and maybe not even then — a Judy Miller-style jail stint might be good publicity for ATL).
They asserted copyright over the song and asked us to take it down, from our site and from YouTube. We stated our view that posting and commenting on the song constitutes fair use. It also falls within our newsgathering mission as a media organization.
We explained that our site is all about law firms and the legal profession. They said: “We know what you’re about.”
They claimed the person who leaked this song is “in a fight” with Nixon Peabody, and menacingly stated that they (meaning NP) “don’t intend to let this thing lie.” We informed them that we have no desire to get involved in the firm’s purported dispute with this unnamed individual. And that’s where we left things.
More thoughts after the jump.
That last part of the discussion struck us as a bit undignified. Nixon Peabody is #65 on the Am Law 100. It’s a law firm with over 600 lawyers, 200 partners, and almost $400 million in 2006 gross revenue. And Fortune magazine has declared the firm a “Best Place to Work” (in case you hadn’t heard).
So why are they getting so incensed over a little ditty on the internet? Why not try to have a sense of humor about it?
Are they worried about the song running afoul of lawyer advertising rules? One tipster points out:
From the Comments section of the Rule of Professional Conduct (Section 7.2) in the State of New Jersey:
“The rule requires that all advertisements about a lawyer or the lawyer’s services be presented in a dignified manner, and prohibits certain modes of presentation such as music, animations, and the like. These devices would add little, if any, consumer-useful information to a communication, and are more likely to attract clients for reasons other than those that are relevant to the selection of appropriate counsel. Any consumer-useful facts that might be conveyed by the use of jingles, lyrics, cartoons and the like can be communicated freely and explicitly via the written and spoken word.“
But the NP song — which, to repeat, is NOT a “theme song” — does not constitute lawyer advertising. It was produced for internal use, not public dissemination. It was leaked to us, without the firm’s knowledge or consent, and our coverage makes that clear. We think the firm needs to relax.
(We will append an explanation to the original post, directing readers to this post and explaining that the song is not lawyer advertising, was prepared for internal use only, was leaked to us, is being used over the firm’s objection, etc.)
So that’s where things stand. We’ll let you know about any further developments.
And remember: It is NOT a “theme song”!