Our Take on Today's New York Times Article

The New York Times weighed inthis morning on the New Jersey Committee on Attorney Advertising's ruling onSuper Lawyers  (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/15/business/15legal.html?ref=business; registration required)).  Have a look atit.  Here's a few points we hope you'd note about it.

  1. The reporter gives greatercredence to lawyers' opinions and the opinion than to the facts.  The factsare that our selection process is more quantitative, rigorous andcomprehensive than any of the other directories. We never said that beingnamed to the Super Lawyers list is"exclusive", but we are confident that our list represents the top 5percent of lawyers in the states where we publish.

  2. We agree with the argument thatthe American consumer is sophisticated enough not to need government protectionfrom accurate advertising that doesn't mislead.  Placing contactinformation and a logo in a profile would clearly indicate that the profilesplaced in the Super Lawyers supplements are advertising.  Yes,our advertising supplements are distributed through city andregional publications, but they are in no way misleading.  I'dsuggest that any of the lawyers who disagreed with this ask themselves: Would they be misled by a similar ad profile for a doctor? Or a plumber?

  3. The article concludes notingthat rules proposed in New York would make it illegal for a lawyer to use a "nickname, moniker, motto ortrade name that implies an ability to obtain results," and that this would"clip the capes of Manhattan Super Lawyers." We disagree.  In Florida, for example,the attorney ethics committee there reviewed our process and barred attorneysfrom using the term as a title or nickname such as "Super Lawyer BillWhite" or "Bill White, Super Lawyer".  In a perfectlyreasonable ruling, they permitted lawyers to cite the reference among their credentials.  "Bill Whitewas selected as one of the top 5% of lawyers in the state by the 2005Florida Super Lawyers magazine," for example.   

What do you think? Contact me at bwhite@lawandpolitics.com.