Attorney Ad Rules in NY Take a Hit

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As previously reported, proposed amendments in Virginia to the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern lawyer advertising and communications by lawyers with prospective clients would prohibit in-person solicitation in all matters, not just those involving personal injury cases. While I was, and remain, critical of such a change, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Alexander v. Cahill (March 12, 2010) evinced a thirty-year trend toward greater protection of First Amendment rights for lawyer advertising and solicitation of clients. While upholding New York’s thirty-day ban on direct unsolicited communications in potential personal injury and wrongful death actions, the Court of Appeals eviscerated a number of prohibitions on advertising. Specifically, the Court of Appeals addressed the regulation of commercial speech that was purportedly false or deceptive.

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