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Case Summary for Bates v. State Bar of Arizona
Summary of holding: Commercial speech, which serves individual and societal interests in assuring informed and reliable decisionmaking, is entitled to some First Amendment protection, Virginia Pharmacy Board v. Virginia Consumer Council (1976). The justifications advanced by the Arizona Bar are inadequate to support the suppression of all advertising by attorneys.

Advertising legal services is not inherently misleading. Only routine services lend themselves to advertising, and for such services fixed rates can be meaningfully established, as the Arizona State Bar's own Legal Services Program demonstrates. Although a client may not know the detail involved in a given task, he can identify the service at the level of generality to which advertising lends itself. Though advertising does not provide a complete foundation on which to select an attorney, it would be peculiar to deny the consumer at least some of the relevant information needed for an informed decision on the ground that the information was not complete.

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