State Bars’ Antitrust Immunity May Not Last Much Longer

Avvo General Counsel Josh King on the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission:

The court made no bones about it, siding with the FTC: the regulatory bodies of self-regulated professions (like dentistry and the law) only get immunity from antitrust liability if they are “actively supervised” by the State.

Read Josh’s post from today, but also check out his preview of the case from last October. I’m inclined to agree with what Josh said take in his earlier post:

It certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing if state licensing boards had their wings clipped. There’s little to recommend the granting of state monopoly power to a group of market participants and then letting them exclude competition with impunity. The practice is bad for consumers, protects entrenched interests, and acts as a drag on innovation. Pulling the state action doctrine back wouldn’t prevent the Bars from regulating, but it would be a step toward them – and all licensing boards – doing so in a more measured and appropriate way.

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  • Mainely Law

    It’s a pretty easy fix. The Maine Overseers of the Bar have had public members for years, including public members of each committee hearing discipline. A foolish attempt to corner the market on cosmetic whitening is unlikely to open the flood gates for every Tom Dick & Harry drilling teeth. The Bar has not threatened Legal Zoom and should be able to continue its traditional enforcement role.