54 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 16 Sep 2018
Date Written: March 28, 2018
When professionals give advice, they disseminate professional knowledge to their clients. The reason professional advice is valuable to clients is that they gain access to a body of knowledge they would not otherwise possess. To preserve the accuracy and hence the value of this knowledge transfer, the First Amendment should protect professional speech against state interference that seeks to alter the content of professional advice in a way that contradicts professional knowledge. But before professionals can engage in professional advice-giving, they are subject to licensing by the state. This seemingly creates a tension between state involvement in professional licensing and protection against state involvement in professional speech.
This Article provides a theoretical framework to reconcile professional speech protection with professional licensing. Under this theory, the interests underlying First Amendment protection of professional speech and those underlying state licensing are the same: preserving the reliability of expert knowledge by guarding professionals’ competence, and protecting the dissemination of reliable professional advice to the client.
Keywords: First Amendment, professional speech, professional licensing, professional regulation, constitutional law
JEL Classification: K1, K2, K20, K29, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation