Tuesday, August 1, 2006

'Super Lawyers' and 'Best Lawyers' Hire Big Guns to Battle Ad Ban: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

According to the New Jersey Law Journal, Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America have retained attorneys to attempt to reverse an ethics opinion that put them out of business in New Jersey.

The firms were hired last week to reverse or win modification of Opinion 39 of the state Supreme Court's Committee on Attorney Advertising, published July 24 and referenced here. It bars lawyers from advertising they are in the "Best Lawyers" or "Super Lawyers" rankings and participating in the voting for such honors.

The opinion is based on ethics rules which prohibit ads that create an unjustified expectation about the results the lawyer can achieve. The opinion also found that "Best" and "super" are manufactured titles that could lead unwary consumers to believe lawyers so described are superior to other lawyers, a violation of rules against misleading ads.

While the debate over whether such designations are ethical rages, the most significant comment comes from Larry Bodine, a legal marketing consultant:

"I've always thought that promoting yourself as a 'super lawyer' or 'best lawyer' was pathetic, self-aggrandizing and meaningless," legal marketing consultant and blogger Larry Bodine said on his Web site last week. "I counsel law firm clients not to hype this designation, because it preys upon lawyer egos to publicly praise themselves, and leads to expensive advertising campaigns. It is also weak, because it meant the only source that said you were any good was a silly directory."
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