Nearly 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bates v. State Bar of Arizona,[FOOTNOTE 1] holding that “blanket suppression” of attorney advertisements was an unconstitutional interference with First Amendment rights. However, the Court also recognized that some regulation of attorney advertising was necessary to protect consumers who lacked legal sophistication.
Thus, the Court ruled that statements in lawyer ads that might pass muster in other industries could be misleading and were subject to reasonable regulation as to time, place and manner. The conflict between the First Amendment right to speech and the necessity and reasonableness of regulation of attorney advertising has continued to evolve since Bates, responding not just to changing mores regarding professional conduct, but to the challenges of new technology media.
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