BDSS IGERT Speaker Series - Renee Knake

"The Consumer Law Market, Legal Information & the First Amendment" and Introduction to the 'ReInvent Law Laboratory' (
When Nov 13, 2013
from 12:10 PM to 01:15 PM
Where B001 Sparks - the 'Databasement'
Contact Name
Contact Phone 814-867-2720
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Is legal information speech?  If so, to what extent may government constitutionally regulate the creation and dissemination of legal information?  The answers to these questions hold significant implications both for the consumer law market and for First Amendment jurisprudence.  The Supreme Court has long recognized that the “consumer’s concern for the free flow of commercial speech often may be far keener than his concern for urgent political dialogue,” and the Court has used this premise to strike down regulations constraining truthful legal information in the consumer market, for example the blanket ban on attorney advertising in the late 1970’s.  Recently, in Sorrell v. IMS Health, the Court declared, “the creation and dissemination of information are speech within the meaning of the First Amendment.”  In her article The Consumer Law Market, Legal Information & the First Amendment, Professor Knake contends that under this expanded reading of the First Amendment, a number of long-enduring lawyer conduct rules are constitutionally vulnerable, including the ban on non-lawyer ownership/investment, geographic licensing restrictions, limitations on advertising/solicitation, and unauthorized practice of law statutes.  

Dr. Knake will also discuss her work with the  'ReInvent Law Laboratory', a collaborative venture devoted to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in legal services.


Renee Newman Knake is Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Kelley Institute of Ethics and the Legal Profession at Michigan State University College of Law.  Her expertise and research interests include intersections between the First Amendment and the law of lawyering; innovation in the delivery of legal services; comparative regulation of the legal profession in the United Kingdom and United States; lawyers as entrepreneurs; and the portrayal of lawyers in literature and media. Most recently she has turned her energies to consider ways that law, technology, and social media can democratize the delivery of legal services and enhance the practice of law.  In 2012, she co-founded the ReInvent Law Laboratory (,
a collaborative venture devoted to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in legal services sponsored in part by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Professor Knake’s scholarly articles have been published or are forthcoming in scholarly journals such as Connecticut Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, and Washington & Lee Law Review. She is also a co-author for the casebook Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach.