Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Economics, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Bureau of Competition to submitted joint comments to the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) regarding proposed revisions to the rules of professional responsibility with respect to attorney advertising. The comments express concern that “the proposed Louisiana rules would unnecessarily restrict truthful advertising by attorneys in the state.”
The comments state the staff’s belief the staff’s belief that deceptive advertising by lawyers should be prohibited, but that “reasonable restrictions on advertising that are specifically tailored to prevent deceptive claims in a way that preserve competition provide the optimal level of protection for consumers.” The comments conclude that consumers benefit from robust competition among attorneys and from important price and quality information that advertising can provide:
“Rules that unnecessarily restrict the dissemination of truthful and non-misleading information are likely to limit competition and harm consumers of legal services in Louisiana.”
The proposed rules are very similar to those recently proposed in New York State, about which the FTC submitted comments in September 2006. The FTC staff recommends that the LSBA reject or modify the proposed rules to address competitive concerns and to avoid limiting consumer choice.