The Northern District of New York ruled today that New York's amended rules against attorney advertising are unconstitutional and permanently enjoined enforcement of most of the challenged provisions. The court agreed with Public Citizen's argument that the state had not shown that the rules were necessary to help consumers and were not narrowly tailored to the state's asserted purpose. In fact, the rules restricted truthful advertising that would benefit consumers.
Meanwhile, more state bars are moving toward enhanced restrictions on advertising that are patently unconstitutional. Louisiana and Indiana are both considering new rules that in many ways resemble the rules held unconstitutional in New York. Florida is also considering expanding its already draconian rules to cover websites. And the New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether the state may constitutionally prohibit attorneys from calling themselves "Super Lawyers." In all these cases, the Federal Trade Commission has opposed the restrictions on speech in the interest of consumers. In the New Jersey case the FTC filed an excellent amicus brief that I think clearly explains how unnecessary advertising restrictions accomplish little other than squelching competition and leading to higher prices.