Since the motto of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is “protecting America’s consumers” I immediately went to the agencies website at www.ftc.gov expecting to find much information on how this watchdog for the public was dealing with the subject of lawyer advertising in the era of “the Texas Law Hawk” and our local groups of self-promoters on the airways, by-ways and highways. Theoretically, when consumers see or hear an advertisement on the Internet, radio, television or anywhere else, federal law requires that the ad must be truthful, not misleading, and appropriate and backed by scientific evidence.
I read on and got excited for the non-lawyer advertising majority of my brethren in the trial bar as to a possible regulatory method to curtail the “deceptive” advertising allegedly banned by Justice Blackmon in the Bates decision in 1978. My hopes soared higher as I read further that “the FTC enforces those built-in-advertising laws and the agency applies the same standards no matter where an ad appears—in newspapers and magazines, online, in the mail, or on billboards or busses.”
It also stated that when the FTC finds a case of fraud perpetrated on consumers, “the agency files actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent order to stop scams”. I decided to further quench my thirst for knowledge in this foreign field of the law by attempting to find a report on the subject of lawyer advertising. However, that subject seemed to be absent from multiple topics that I attempted to scan for a couple of hours.
Although the FTC states that “it looks especially close at advertising claims that can affect the consumer’s health or their pocketbooks, “my search for the agency’s position on lawyer advertising was in vain.”
Will some anti-trust lawyers (if any) reading this blog direct me to some source of informative writing about the FTC’s position on lawyer advertising as it applies to the agency position on the topic?
I did not do too well on the subject in law school and need your help!
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!
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