Articles

Spamming for Legal Services: A Constitutional Right Within a Regulatory Quagmire

Byline:

William E. Hornsby

Issue:

VOL. XXII • Fall 2003 • NO. 1 (table of contents)

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Abstract:

This article addresses the regulatory schemes applied to lawyers who advertise their legal services to consumers through electronic communications.

Concerns have arisen about lawyers using electronic communications to offer their services to their targeted communities. Since the Supreme Courtís 1977 decision in Bates, lawyers have been able to advertise their services without state permission. However, states have imposed ethical regulations in an effort to ensure that lawyers do not over reach their boundaries during such advertising efforts. The question is raised as to whether statesí spam rules also apply to lawyers who choose to advertise over the Internet. This article analyzes the problems of enforcing individual state spam regulations. For instance, multi-state law firms would have to ensure their advertising efforts conforms to each individual state they send their advertisement into, which could lead to costly confusion.

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