Friday, January 23, 2009

SB 41 [Regulation of Lawyer TV Advertising] is (Probably) Dead on Arrival.

Sen. Seth Harp's (photo at right) Bill to Regulate lawyer TV Advertising is (probably) Dead On Arrival.

Hugh Wood (Atlanta, GA). Senator Seth Harp [1], a practicing Georgia attorney, has introduced a bill in Georgia Senate that proposes to regulate Attorney Television Advertising. The Bill, known as Senate Bill 41, or SB41, proposes a new Georgia Statute, OCGA § 15-19-55.1.

The new statute would regulate Legal Television Advertising in Georgia by requiring that the real attorney(s), not actors, appear in the advertisements, require the television advertisement state the city in which the attorney practices in bold type, require television attorneys to “personally consult,” with their clients, require the television attorneys to actually sign the pleadings, and allow a client (unilaterally) to declare a settlement void if certain new television advertisement certifications are not signed by both the television attorney and client at the time of settlement. There are other provisions. The full text is listed in the endnotes. [2]

Senate Bill 41, is seriously flawed for many reasons. [Though, in many ways, I am no fan of attorney television advertising and much of it may be misleading or present “puffed” proposed cash settlements … ] SB 41, is flawed because: 1) only the Georgia Supreme Court may regulate lawyers, 2) SB 41 contradicts current State Bar Rules on Lawyer Advertising, 3) SB 41 runs afoul of United States Supreme Court decisions on “protected commercial speech,” 4) SB 41 is contrary to Georgia Supreme Court precedent, 5) SB 41 is contrary to current 11th Circuit decisions, 6) SB 41 steps into an arena partially regulated by the FCC, and 7) SB 41 contains an unconstitutional unilateral “voiding” of a settlement by a Plaintiff for up to one (1) year after settlement.

1. The General Assembly May Not Regulate the Legal Profession.

The General Assembly has no power to regulate the practice of law. Under the 1983 Georgia Constitution, the Georgia Supreme Court has the sole and exclusive authority to regulate the practice of law. The Supreme Court of Georgia has the inherent and exclusive authority to govern the practice of law in Georgia. Eckles v. Atlanta Tech. Group, 267 Ga. 801, 804, 485 S.E.2d 22 (1997); Huber v. State, 234 Ga. 357, 359, 216 S.E.2d 73 (1975). [3]

2. SB 41 Contradicts State Bar Rule 7 on Lawyer Advertising.

The bill attempts to overlap or supersede prior legislation and regulation concerning lawyer advertising promulgated by the State Bar of Georgia and approved by the Georgia Supreme Court. [4] “A lawyer may advertise through all forms of public media and through written communication not involving personal contact so long as the communication is not false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading. State Bar Rule 7.1 Lawyer Advertising. [4]

3. SB 41 Violates Commercial Speech Freedom.

SB41 is trumped by Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, 97 S.Ct. 2691, 53 L.Ed.2d 810 (1977). Not that the United States Supreme Court might trump a Georgia Statute, but 31 years ago the United States Supreme Court weighted into this corpus and completely set aside attempts by the Arizona State Bar and the Arizona Legislature to regulate attorney advertising in newspapers and other media. [5] SB41 faces serious constitutional fights, in federal and state court, if enacted.

4. SB 41 is at Odds with Current Georgia Supreme Court Precedent.

The Georgia Supreme Court has recognized Bates, supra, on many occasions:

It is well established that attorney advertising is a type of commercial speech protected by the First Amendment. Florida Bar v. Went For It, Inc., --- U.S. ---- 115 S.Ct. 2371, 2375, 132 L.Ed.2d 541 (1995); Peel v. Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n, 496 U.S. 91, 110 S.Ct. 2281, 110 L.Ed.2d 83 (1990); In re R.M.J., 455 U.S. 191, 199, 102 S.Ct. 929, 935, 71 L.Ed.2d 64 (1982); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, 97 S.Ct. 2691, 53 L.Ed.2d 810 (1977). In the Matter of William N. Robbins, 266 Ga. 681, 469 S.E.2d 191 (1996).
And, under both federal and Georgia analysis, SB41 is going to fail examination because it cannot show a “substantial governmental interest,” in regulating attorney television advertising. H & H Operations, Inc., d/b/a The Pit Stop Convenience Store v. The City Of Peachtree City, 248 Ga. 500, 283 S.E.2d 867 (1981).

5. SB 41 is at Odds with Current 11th Circuit Precedent.

If SB41 passes, it faces tough sledding in the 11th Circuit given that the 11th Circuit may find lawyer television advertising to be “protected commercial speech.” The 11th Circuit in reviewing similar restrictions on lawyer advertising has applied a United States Supreme Court test enunciated in Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Public Serv. Comm'n., 447 U.S. 557, 100 S.Ct. 2343, 65 L.Ed.2d 341 (1980). Mason v. Florida Bar, 208 F.3d 952 (11th Cir. 2000). [6] Under Central Hudson, SB41, will be required to survive a four (4) prong test: (1) whether the lawyer advertising truthful, (2) whether the state's interests in limiting the speech is substantial, (3) whether the challenged regulation advances these interests in a direct and material way, and (4) whether the extent of the restriction on protected speech is in reasonable proportion to the interests served. Mason, supra, at 596. While such attacks will be hard fought, my guess is SB41 will not survive Central Hudson test.

6. The FCC Regulates Part of this Arena.

The FCC may weigh in on a regulation associated with television advertising. While this short analysis has focused only on the interaction of the Georgia Separation of Powers vs. SB41 and SB41’s ability to navigate the federal “commercial speech,” tests, it may be that SB41 may, additionally, run afoul of FCC regulations. [7]

7. No Plaintiff may “Void” a Settlement Unilaterally for No Consideration.

The portion of the bill allowing a client to unilaterally “void” a settlement for up to a year, if the television attorneys did not follow some new certification faces significant contractual challenges. For example, if a insurance company settles and pays a claim and obtains a dismissal of a action, are we really supposed to believe that the defendant/insurance company is going to tolerate this new language, “shall be voidable by the client, at the client's sole election, for any or no reason, for a period of one year following the purported settlement…” OCGA § 15-19-55.1(e). My guess is this language is not DOA, but dead before filing.

While I have significant reservations about the TV lawyer’s “call me first,” and “we have chiropractors standing by to take your call,” advertising, I doubt the SB41 will survive constitutional or “protected commercial speech,” scrutiny. Perhaps there is a way to tame the odorous TV legal ads, but SB41 its not the proper tool to do it.


Hugh Wood
Wood & Meredith, LLP
3756 Lavista Road
Suite 250
Tucker, GA 30084
404-633-4100
Fax: 404-633-0068
hwood@woodandmeredith.com






& & &

NOTES:

[1]

I like Seth Harp and I certainly don’t want to cross a fellow Auburn Alum. Auburn has had enough trouble with its football program and Tubervillitis to rock too many Auburn boats.

Seth Harp’s contact information is as follows:

Capitol Office:
110 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404)463-3931
Fax: (404) 463-2279
Email: seth.harp@senate.ga.gov
District 29
Republican
Education: Auburn University, Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University

[2]

09 LC 34 2033
Senate Bill 41
By: Senator Harp of the 29th


A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT



To amend Chapter 19 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to attorneys, so as to provide for legislative findings; to regulate and impose conditions on attorneys that advertise on television in the State of Georgia; to provide for a penalty; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:


SECTION 1.
The General Assembly recognizes and declares that the attorney-client relationship is a sacrosanct one in which the client is entitled to faithful and zealous counsel and representation, as pronounced by the Supreme Court of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia. The General Assembly also recognizes the right of attorneys under existing law to advertise their services on television. Further, the General Assembly finds a legitimate and compelling need to enact the following provisions in order to preserve the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship, as well as the duty of faithful and zealous representation and counsel.


SECTION 2.
Chapter 19 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to attorneys, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"15-19-55.1.
(a) In any attorney television advertisement in the State of Georgia:
(1) The face and voice appearing in the advertisement shall be of a duly licensed attorney;
(2) The advertisement shall visually and audibly state whether the advertising attorney is licensed to practice in the State of Georgia;
(3) The advertisement shall visually and audibly state the name, city, county, and state of the principal residence of the advertising attorney;
(4) Any advertising disclaimers currently required, or subsequently enacted, by the State Bar of Georgia shall be visually and audibly stated in the television advertisement; and
(5) The type size of the required visual displays shall be no smaller than one-fifth of the projected television screen image.
(b) Any attorney who secures a client through television advertising shall personally consult with the client:
(1) At the time of signing any attorney-client representation and fee agreement;
(2) To obtain authority to engage in presuit settlement efforts and to conclude presuit settlements; and
(3) To discuss and counsel the client regarding whether a lawsuit should be filed.
(c) Where a lawsuit is filed, any attorney who has secured the client through television advertising:
(1) Shall personally consult with the client to answer and certify necessary discovery responses, as required by Chapter 11 of Title 9, the 'Georgia Civil Practice Act';
(2) Shall act as lead counsel or co-lead counsel in the case and so indicate by signature on all pleadings, discovery responses, motions and responses, and pretrial submissions; and
(3) Absent good cause shown to the trial court and an order obtained thereon, shall personally appear at all depositions, motion hearings, pretrial conferences, and the trial of the action.
(d) No settlement agreement involving a client represented by an attorney who secured the client through television advertising shall be binding on any party unless:
(1) The advertising attorney and the client each certify in writing and under oath that the advertising attorney personally consulted with the client regarding the advisability of settlement and obtained the express authority of the client to enter into the settlement; and
(2) The certifications required by paragraph (1) of this subsection include the date, time, and method of personal consultation between the attorney and the client.
(e) Any settlement agreement entered into in violation of subsection (d) of this Code section shall be voidable by the client, at the client's sole election, for any or no reason, for a period of one year following the purported settlement, upon written notice by the client to the advertising attorney.
(f) In order to determine whether the client was secured through television advertising, any attorney who advertises his or her services on television shall have each client certify in writing, at the time of signing any representation agreement, whether the employment was influenced, in whole or in part, by virtue of any television advertisement. If the answer is affirmative, subsections (b) through (e) of this Code section shall apply, and the attorney shall explain these provisions to the client and deliver a copy of these provisions to the client at the time the representation agreement is executed. These requirements shall apply to any client represented by the advertising attorney and extend for a period of two years following the last television advertisement shown in the State of Georgia. For compliance purposes, these records shall be maintained throughout the representation and for a period of four years following the conclusion of the representation. The records shall be subject to audit by the State Bar of Georgia."


SECTION 3.
Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 15-19-56, relating to the penalty for prohibited conduct, as follows:
"(a) Any person, corporation, or voluntary association violating Code Section 15-19-51, 15-19-53, 15-19-54, or 15-19-55, or 15-19-55.1 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."


SECTION 4.
This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2009.


SECTION 5.
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.


[3]

The Power to Control the Practice of Law is an Inherent Power of the Georgia Supreme Court and its Plenary Trial Courts.

“The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right, nor an absolute right or a right de jure, but is a privilege or franchise.' " Sams v. Olah, 225 Ga. 497, 504, 169 S.E.2d 790 (1969). An attorney is an officer of the court and, as such, has a responsibility to the courts and to the public which is no less significant than the obligation he owes to his clients. " 'The office of attorney is indispensable to the administration of justice and is intimate and peculiar in its relation to, and vital to the well-being of, the court.' [Cit.]" Gordon v. Clinkscales, 215 Ga. 843, 114 S.E.2d 15 (1960). Eckles v. Atlanta Tech. Group, 267 Ga. 801, 805, 485 S.E.2d 22 (1997)

The Georgia Supreme Court is the sole controller of the practice of law in Georgia. There can be no other. "The Supreme Court of Georgia has the inherent and exclusive authority to govern the practice of law in Georgia. Eckles v. Atlanta Tech. Group, 267 Ga. 801, 804, 485 S.E.2d 22 (1997); Huber v. State, 234 Ga. 357, 359, 216 S.E.2d 73 (1975). [ * * * ]"

The Georgia Supreme Court restated its authority concerning the governance of attorneys in Georgia in GRECAA, Inc. v. Omni Title Services, Inc., 277 Ga. 312, 588 S.E.2d 709 (2003), when it stated, "[n]o statute is controlling as to the civil regulation of the practice of law in this state. Only this Court has the inherent power to govern the practice of law in Georgia." GRECAA, Supra at 312.

It is the responsibility of this court to provide effective standards for admission to the practice of law and for the discipline of those admitted to practice. Litigation must be projected through the courts according to established practice by lawyers who are of high character, skilled in the profession, dedicated to the interest of their clients, and in the spirit of public service. In the orderly process of the administration of justice, any retreat from those principles would be a disservice to the public. To allow a corporation to maintain litigation and appear in court represented by corporate officers or agents only would lay open the gates to the practice of law for entry to those corporate officers or agents who have not been qualified to practice law and who are not amenable to the general discipline of the court. Eckles, Supra at 312.


[4]


RULE 7.1 COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING A LAWYER'S SERVICES
(a) A lawyer may advertise through all forms of public media and through
written communication not involving personal contact so long as the
communication is not false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading. By way of
illustration, but not limitation, a communication is false, fraudulent,
deceptive or misleading if it:
(1) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law or omits a fact
necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially
misleading;

(2) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer
can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by
means that violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;

(3) compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services unless the
comparison can be factually substantiated;

(4) fails to include the name of at least one lawyer responsible for its
content; or

(5) contains any information regarding contingent fees, and fails to
conspicuously present the following disclaimer:

"Contingent attorneys' fees refers only to those fees charged by attorneys
for their legal services. Such fees are not permitted in all types of
cases. Court costs and other additional expenses of legal action usually
must be paid by the client."

(6) contains the language 'no fee unless you win or collect' or any similar
phrase and fails to conspicuously present the following disclaimer:

"No fee unless you win or collect" [or insert the similar language used in
the communication] refers only to fees charged by the attorney. Court costs
and other additional expenses of legal action usually must be paid by the
client. Contingent fees are not permitted in all types of cases.

(b) A public communication for which a lawyer has given value must be
identified as such unless it is apparent from the context that it is such a
communication.

(c) A lawyer retains ultimate responsibility to insure that all
communications concerning the lawyer or the lawyer's services comply with
the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.

The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is disbarment.

Comment

[1] This rule governs the content of all communications about a lawyer's
services, including the various types of advertising permitted by Rules 7.3
through 7.5. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services,
statements about them should be truthful.

[2] The prohibition in sub-paragraph (a)(2) of this Rule 7.1:
Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services of statements that may create
"unjustified expectations" would ordinarily preclude advertisements about
results obtained on behalf of a client, such as the amount of a damage
award or the lawyer's record in obtaining favorable verdicts, and
advertisements containing client endorsements. Such information may create
the unjustified expectation that similar results can be obtained for others
without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances.

Affirmative Disclosure

[3] In general, the intrusion on the First Amendment right of commercial
speech resulting from rationally-based affirmative disclosure requirements
is minimal, and is therefore a preferable form of regulation to absolute
bans or other similar restrictions. For example, there is no significant
interest in failing to include the name of at least one accountable
attorney in all communications promoting the services of a lawyer or law
firm as required by sub-paragraph (a)(5) of Rule 7.1: Communications
Concerning a Lawyer's Services. Nor is there any substantial burden imposed
as a result of the affirmative disclaimer requirement of sub-paragraph
(a)(6) upon a lawyer who wishes to make a claim in the nature of "no fee
unless you win." Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has specifically
recognized that affirmative disclosure of a client's liability for costs
and expenses of litigation may be required to prevent consumer confusion
over the technical distinction between the meaning and effect of the use of
such terms as "fees" and "costs" in an advertisement.

[4] Certain promotional communications of a lawyer may, as a result of
content or circumstance, tend to mislead a consumer to mistakenly believe
that the communication is something other than a form of promotional
communication for which the lawyer has paid. Examples of such a
communication might include advertisements for seminars on legal topics
directed to the lay public when such seminars are sponsored by the lawyer,
or a newsletter or newspaper column which appears to inform or to educate
about the law. Paragraph (b) of this Rule 7.1: Communications Concerning a
Lawyer's Services would require affirmative disclosure that a lawyer has
given value in order to generate these types of public communications if
such is in fact the case.

Accountability

[5] Paragraph (c) makes explicit an advertising attorney's ultimate
responsibility for all the lawyer's promotional communications and would
suggest that review by the lawyer prior to dissemination is advisable if
any doubts exist concerning conformity of the end product with these Rules.
Although prior review by disciplinary authorities is not required by these
Rules, lawyers are certainly encouraged to contact disciplinary authorities
prior to authorizing a promotional communication if there are any doubts
concerning either an interpretation of these Rules or their application to
the communication.

RULE 7.2 ADVERTISING
(a) Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may
advertise services through:
(1) public media, such as a telephone directory, legal directory, newspaper
or other periodical;

(2) outdoor advertising;

(3) radio or television;

(4) written, electronic or recorded communication.

(b) A copy or recording of an advertisement or communication shall be kept
for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and
where it was used.

The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is a public reprimand.

Comment

[1] To assist the public in obtaining legal services, lawyers should be
allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also
through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising.
Advertising involves an active quest for clients, contrary to the tradition
that a lawyer should not seek clientele. However, the public's need to know
about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising. This
need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who
have not made extensive use of legal services. The interest in expanding
public information about legal services ought to prevail over
considerations of tradition. Nevertheless, advertising by lawyers entails
the risk of practices that are misleading or overreaching.

[2] This Rule permits public dissemination of information concerning a
lawyer's name or firm name, address and telephone number; the kinds of
services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer's fees
are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and
credit arrangements; a lawyer's foreign language ability; names of
references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented;
and other information that might invite the attention of those seeking
legal assistance.

[3] Questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising are matters of
speculation and subjective judgment. Some jurisdictions have had extensive
prohibitions against television advertising, against advertising going
beyond specified facts about a lawyer, or against "undignified"
advertising. Television is now one of the most powerful media for getting
information to the public, particularly persons of low and moderate income;
prohibiting television advertising, therefore, would impede the flow of
information about legal services to many sectors of the public. Limiting
the information that may be advertised has a similar effect and assumes
that the bar can accurately forecast the kind of information that the
public would regard as relevant.

[4] Neither this Rule nor Rule 7.3: Direct Contact with Prospective Clients
prohibits communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a
class in class action litigation.

Record of Advertising

[5] Paragraph (b) requires that a record of the content and use of
advertising be kept in order to facilitate enforcement of this Rule.


[5]

433 U.S. 350 (1977)
97 S.Ct. 2691, 53 L.Ed.2d 810
Bates
v.
State Bar of Arizona
No. 76-316
United States Supreme Court
June 27, 1977
Argued January 18, 1977
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF ARIZONA
Syllabus
Appellants, who are licensed attorneys and members of the Arizona State Bar, were charged in a complaint filed by the State Bar's president with violating the State Supreme Court's disciplinary rule, which prohibits attorneys from advertising in newspapers or other media. The complaint was based upon a newspaper advertisement placed by appellants for their "legal clinic," stating that they were offering "legal services at very reasonable fees," and listing their fees for certain services, namely, uncontested divorces, uncontested adoptions, simple personal bankruptcies, and changes of name. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the conclusion of a bar committee that appellants had violated the rule, having rejected appellants' claims that the rule violated §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act because of its tendency to limit competition, and that it infringed appellants' First Amendment rights.
Held:
1. The restraint upon attorney advertising imposed by the Supreme Court of Arizona wielding the power of the State over the practice of law is not subject to attack under the Sherman Act. Parker v. Brown, 317 U.S. 341, followed; Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773; Cantor v. Detroit Edison Co., 428 U.S. 579, distinguished. Pp. 359-363.
2. Commercial speech, which serves individual and societal interests in assuring informed and reliable decisionmaking, is entitled to some First Amendment protection, Virginia Pharmacy Board v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748, and the justifications advanced by appellee are inadequate to support the suppression of all advertising by attorneys. Pp. 363-384.
(a) This case does not involve any question concerning in-person solicitation or advertising as to the quality of legal services, but only the question whether lawyers may constitutionally advertise the prices at which certain routine services will be performed. Pp. 366-367.
(b) The belief that lawyers are somehow above "trade" is an anachronism, and for a lawyer to advertise his fees will not undermine true professionalism. Pp. 368-372.
(c) Advertising legal services is not inherently misleading. Only routine services lend themselves to advertising, and, for such services, fixed rates can be meaningfully established, as the Arizona State Bar's own Legal Services Program demonstrates. Although a client may not
Page 351
know the detail involved in a given task, he can identify the service at the level of generality to which advertising lends itself. Though advertising does not provide a complete foundation on which to select an attorney, it would be peculiar to deny the consumer at least some of the relevant information needed for an informed decision on the ground that the information was not complete. Pp. 372-375.
(d) Advertising, the traditional mechanism in a free market economy for a supplier to inform a potential purchaser of the availability and terms of exchange, may well benefit the administration of justice. Pp. 375-377.
(e) It is entirely possible that advertising will serve to reduce, not advance, the cost of legal services to the consumer, and may well aid new attorneys in entering the market. Pp. 377-378.
(f) An attorney who is inclined to cut quality will do so regardless of the rule on advertising, the restraints on which are an ineffective deterrent to shoddy work. Pp. 378-379.
(g) Undue enforcement problems need not be anticipated, and it is at least incongruous for the opponents of advertising to extol the virtues of the legal profession while also asserting that, through advertising, [97 S.Ct. 2693] lawyers will mislead their clients. P. 379.
3. The First Amendment overbreadth doctrine, which represents a departure from the traditional rule that a person may not challenge a statute on the ground that it might be applied unconstitutionally in circumstances other than those before the court, is inapplicable to professional advertising, a context where it is not necessary to further its intended objective, cf. Bigelow v. Virginia, 421 U.S. 809, 817-818, and appellants must therefore demonstrate that their specific conduct was constitutionally protected. Pp. 379-381.
4. On this record, appellants' advertisement (contrary to appellee's contention) is not misleading, and falls within the scope of First Amendment protection. Pp. 381-382.
(a) The term "legal clinic" would be understood to refer to an operation like appellants' that is geared to provide standardized and multiple services. Pp. 381-382.
(b) The advertisement's claim that appellants offer services at "very reasonable" prices is not misleading. Appellants' advertised fee for an uncontested divorce, which was specifically cited by appellee, is in line with customary charges in the area. P. 382.
(c) Appellants' failure to disclose that a name change might be accomplished by the client without an attorney's aid was not misleading, since the difficulty of performing the task is not revealed, and since most
Page 352
legal services may be performed legally by the citizen for himself. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806. P. 382.



[6]

208 F.3d 952 (11th Cir. 2000)
Steven G. MASON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FLORIDA BAR, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 99-2138.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
April 6, 2000
Page 953
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Page 954
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida.
Before DUBINA and BLACK, Circuit Judges, and HILL, Senior Circuit
Judge.
DUBINA, Circuit Judge:
This case involves facial and as applied challenges to Rule
4-7.2(j) of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar ("Rule 4-7.2(j)"), which
prohibits statements made by lawyers in advertisements or written
communications that are "self laudatory" or that describe or characterize
the quality of legal services. In particular, Appellant Steven G. Mason
("Mason") challenges the application of Rule 4-7.2(j) as a violation of his
First Amendment rights and charges that Rule 4-7.2(j) is void-for-vagueness
under the First Amendment as it applies to the states via the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

[7]

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations created pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 151 and 47 U.S.C. § 154.



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