In November 2012 a comprehensive Petition to Adopt Changes to Rules of Professional Conduct on Lawyer Advertising was filed before the Tennessee Supreme Court by the Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ). A thirty-three page Supplemental Petition with exhibits was filed by a successful Nashville trial lawyer urging the high court to adopt the proposed rules to attempt to regulate the dissemination of “deceptive” advertising allowed by the United States Supreme Court in its limited ruling decision allowing lawyer advertising in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona (1977). A copy of that petition is attached as an exhibit to the Silly blog entry.
In this writers opinion it presented a practical solution to control what has become a cancer on the legal and judicial systems of our state that has adversely affected the rights of citizens under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 19 of the Tennessee Constitution to obtain reasonable compensation for personal injuries in our courts.
The recommended control of ethical and non-deceptive advertising balanced against the “public’s right to know” under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution was capably addressed by the author of the proposed petition.
The recommended changes were never adopted! Why??
1. Opposition by First Amendment proponents who threatened to oppose the adoption of the petition in the courts;
2. The mega-millions (now billions) advertising industry had found themselves a new cash cow and it was anticipated that they would also oppose the adoption of the petition;
3. Bar and trial lawyer associations were afraid that they would lose the financial support and sustain a drop of needed memberships if the few high spending minority of trial lawyers primarily in the field of personal injury, bankruptcy, social security, etc. withdrew their financial support;
4. Big businesses and insurance companies took a luke warm approach to the proposed petition when faced with the possibility that more talented attorneys would acquire the bulk of cases and not settle them for less money to the involved clients.
Considering these factors as well as obvious others the Tennessee Supreme Court although asking for public comment never acted on all or any of the proposals included in the petition. As a result, radio, television, billboards, and websites are inundated with glitzy, deceptive, and unethical solicitations that demean the legal system and dilute the effectiveness of the judicial branch of government under the 7th Amendment and comparable Tennessee constitutional provisions.
What was rejected in 2012 should be re-addressed in 2019-2020!
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!
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