Shapero v. Kentucky Bar Association

486 U.S. 466 (1988)


D, a member of Kentucky's integrated Bar Association, applied to the Kentucky Attorneys Advertising Commission for approval of a letter that he proposed to send 'to potential clients who have had a foreclosure suit filed against them.' The Commission did not find the letter false or misleading. It declined to approve it on the ground that a then-existing Kentucky Supreme Court Rule prohibited the mailing or delivery of written advertisements 'precipitated by a specific event or occurrence involving or relating to the addressee or addressees as distinct from the general public.' The Commission then stated that such a ban violated the First Amendment and recommended the Rule be amended. D then petitioned the Committee on Legal Ethics (Ethics Committee) or an advisory opinion as to the Rule's validity. They did not find the proposed letter false or misleading but nonetheless upheld the Rule on the ground that it was consistent with Rule 7.3 of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Kentucky Supreme Court felt 'compelled by the decision in Zauderer to order its Rule deleted,' and replaced it with the ABA's Rule 7.3. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve whether a blanket prohibition is consistent with the First Amendment.