Consumer advertising is subject to a bewildering array of laws, regulations, rules, industry standards and practices, and other legal constraints. Potential legal challenges can come from federal or state regulators, competitors, consumers, or even parties whose only involvement is the claim that the ad infringes on their trademark, copyright, right of publicity, or other intellectual property right.

We have long experience litigating, arbitrating and resolving such advertising disputes, not only in the courts and with governmental authorities, but also with the television networks (who have standards and practices under which they may refuse to carry a particular commercial) and before the National Advertising Division (NAD) and National Advertising Review Board (NARB) of the Better Business Bureau, a "self-regulatory" system for policing advertising practices and resolving advertising disputes created by the advertising industry and administered by the BBB.

Our decided preference, however, is not to invest our time (and our clients' resources) in resolving such disputes, but to help clients avoid them at the outset. We perform advertising clearance for a wide variety of firms, from manufacturers to retailers to advertising agencies. In doing so, we do not see ourselves as exercising "legal veto" over the creative content. Quite the contrary, our role is to identify those aspects of a particular execution which present risk, brainstorm alternatives which may reduce the legal exposure, and then assist the client in an informed evaluation of the risk/reward ratio.

If they were forced to, we suspect that most of our clients would agree that this is a constructive process which not only enables the client to manage legal risk intelligently, but usually strengthens the execution from a creative standpoint as well.

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