As we anticipated, the first federal lawsuit has been filed challenging the constitutionality of New York's new attorney advertising regulations (which took effect yesterday, February 1, 2007).
The litigation, brought by the nonprofit consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, Inc., against the Chief Counsels of the various Departmental Disciplinary Committees, seeks to stay the enforcement of these overly broad and restrictive rules and to have them declared unconstitutional. To that end, the complaint alleges, in part, as follows:
The ethics rules, as amended ... allow for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement and impose onerous restrictions on both commercial and noncommercial speech that the state has no legitimate interest in regulating. The amended rules are therefore unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
With 100,000 members nationwide, Public Citizen, Inc.'s mission is to "fight for openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care."
As Greg Beck, the organization's attorney, correctly noted in a press release, "While other states have debated limits on lawyers' advertising, the New York rules go further than any other state in imposing burdensome restrictions on legal free speech ... New York has also taken the lead in interfering with and regulating legal Internet communications."
We wholeheartedly support Public Citizen's efforts and wish the organization much success.
To retrieve a copy of Public Citizen's press release dated February 1, 2007, please click on the following link: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2373
To retrieve a copy of the federal court pleadings filed by Public Citizen, please click on the following link: http://www.citizen.org/documents/alexandercomplaint.pdf
To review our other posts on attorney advertising and solicitations, please click the following link: http://www.nyrealestatelawblog.com/search/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=4&search=attorney advertising