Lawyers at the firm of Morris Bart, whose prolific advertising has made him one of the most familiar personal injury counselors in southeast Louisiana, plan to start assisting the Orleans Parish district attorney‘s office.
A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office confirmed the arrangement Saturday, saying the agency “has been working to identify new resources and partnerships to ensure we are meeting the demands of a busy docket, including partnering with Morris Bart.”
The statement did not say what work Bart lawyers will do. But WDSU television reported they will be screening cases, which typically involves reviewing law enforcement investigations and reports to decide whether to prosecute a criminal case.
‘Pro bono’ work
Bart did not respond to a request for details. In a recent Instagram post, he announced the partnership with excitement and said his firm’s work for the DA’s office will be “pro bono,” which generally is understood to mean work done without compensation for the good of the public.
It was Bart who, three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that lawyers may advertise themselves, became the first in Louisiana to tout his services in television commericals. His TV ads and billboards used catchphrases — “One call, that’s all” and, later in the digital age, “One click, that’s it” — to make him a household name and a marketing model for many other personal injury lawyers.
But the new parternship between Bart’s civil law firm and a DA’s office focused on criminal matters leaves room for mistakes, said Craig Mordock, a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor.
“You have to want to do it, and these people have chosen a different career path than criminal law,” Mordock said.
Screening sets the tone
Further, using private lawyers to screen cases without the institutional knowledge