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Federal Trade Commission staff, in response to a request for public comment from the Supreme Court of Tennessee, has provided comment on proposed amendments to the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct regarding attorney advertising.

The FTC staff comment recommends that the Court decline to adopt proposals that are likely to unnecessarily restrict truthful and non-misleading information available to consumers of legal services in the state. It cites competition and consumer protection principles to aid the Court in reviewing the proposals, and addresses restrictions in proposed amendments that would:

  • prohibit the use of actors, models, generally recognizable spokespersons, and certain background sounds;
  • impose high substantiation burdens that may prohibit useful, non-deceptive advertising;
  • limit advertising by attorneys if they do not also maintain an office in Tennessee; and
  • require pre-screening and evaluation of all attorney advertisements by the Board of Professional Responsibility.

The Commission vote approving the staff comment was 5-0.  It was sent to the Supreme Court of Tennessee on January 24, 2013.  A copy of the staff comment can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release.  (FTC File No.V130001; the staff contact is Jessica Hoke, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2409.)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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