On May 4, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising issued a notice to the Bar on “attorney advertising of awards, honors, and accolades that compare a lawyer’s services to other lawyers’ service”.
After the Committee received numerous grievances regarding attorney advertising of awards – such as “Super Lawyers,” “Best Lawyers,” “Superior Attorney,” it deemed appropriate to issue a notice to remind lawyers that “they may refer to such awards, honors, and accolades only when the basis for the comparison can be verified and the organization has made adequate inquiry into the fitness of the individual lawyer”.
In brief, if the award meets this preliminary test, a lawyer may advertise the award but must include the following additional information when referring to it in his or her advertising:
- a description of the methodology on which the award is based (official Comment to RPC 7 .1);
- the name of the comparing organization that issued the award (RPC 7.1 ( a)(3 )(i);
- this disclaimer “No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.” (RPC 7.l(a)(3)(iii)
All of this additional language must be presented in proximity to the reference to the award.
The notice provides the following example:
Jane Doe was selected to the 2016 Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.superlawvers.com/about/selection process detail.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal.