Licensing Knowledge

59 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 31 Mar 2019

See all articles by Claudia E. Haupt

Claudia E. Haupt

Northeastern University - School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Date Written: March 28, 2018


When professionals give advice, they disseminate professional knowledge to their clients. Professional advice is valuable to clients because they gain access to a body of knowledge they do 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 give professional advice, they are routinely 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

Haupt, Claudia E., Licensing Knowledge (March 28, 2018). Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 72, 2019, Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 330-2018, Available at SSRN:

Claudia E. Haupt (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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