The Supreme Court held that states could not prohibit lawyers from advertising the prices of routine legal services.
In 1974 lawyers John Bates and Van O’Steen placed an advertisement in a newspaper that announced “legal services at very reasonable fees” and listed several examples. Because the Arizona bar association’s ethics code prohibited such advertisements, the two lawyers were censored and suspended from legal practice for one week. They appealed on First Amendment grounds. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, in Virginia Pharmacy Board v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council
In Bates, the justices voted five to four to extend the Virginia Pharmacy Board principles to commercial advertising by lawyers. Justice Blackmun’s
After Bates, the Court endorsed several restrictions on the commercial speech of lawyers. In Florida Bar v. Went for It
Advertising of lawyers
Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.
Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar
Williams v. Mississippi