Bates v. State Bar of Arizona (1977)

Bates, et al v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977)

Discussed in more depth in the History of Attorney Advertising section, Bates represented the watershed moment when the Supreme Court first found that the free speech rights of attorneys (and the free speech interests of consumers in having access to information about legal services) trumped the Bar Associations’ interest in banning or significantly hamstringing attorney advertising. It was also one of a number of cases in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that helped establish the Supreme Court’s commercial speech doctrine for evaluating government regulation of advertising.

Bates v Arizona Ad

Interestingly, the advertising at issue in Bates was for fixed-price legal services – something that nearly 40 years later has yet to be widely adopted, despite significant consumer demand.



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