We’ve all seen those advertisements naming “Super Lawyers,” “Rising Stars,” “Best Lawyers” and other top lawyer lists. But what do those designations really mean? Are the attorneys on those lists really the best?
The short answer is sometime yes . . . and sometimes no. After receiving a number of complaints, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Lawyer Advertising just issued a Notice to all New Jersey attorneys “reminding” them of how they can properly advertise those accolades. Attorneys who are members of the New Jersey Bar can only advertise these designations when the selection process included an examination of the attorney’s fitness (more than years of practice and lack of disciplinary history) and when the process can be verified – but not when the award amounts to a popularity contest. The Notice included the following example of a proper advertisement:
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 http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process_detail.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
We applaud the New Jersey Committee on their efforts to keep these advertisements honest and transparent and wish that all jurisdictions required a similar disclosure. For legal consumers, it is important to understand what criteria is used to select these “Super Lawyers,” so you can make informed decisions when choosing counsel. Because while some “Super Lawyers” really are super, some are not.