It’s official. The New Jersey Supreme Court has adopted amendments to ethics rules that allow lawyers to mention their inclusion in Super Lawyers and other ratings. The revised rules go into effect immediately. This closes the final chapter of the three-and-a-half year saga arising out of Opinion 39.
It’s a good day for consumers and lawyers in New Jersey as the rules now bring the state into step with the rest of the country.
The rule and comments call for common sense disclosures of the name of the rating service and a reference to where the selection methodology can be found. And of course, the rules prohibit pay-to-play accolades.
None of this affects how we publish. We’ve always included a detailed description of the Super Lawyers selection process where ever we publish our lists. We want people to understand exactly what we go through in selecting lawyers.
The only shortcoming with the rules is the required disclaimer, “No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.” As is the case with most disclaimers of this type, you’re left to wonder what purpose is served? Is there any evidence at all that without such language consumers would be misled? And if there is no such evidence, why require the disclaimer?
What consumers really need is information and not disclaimers. Nevertheless, we feel the court has otherwise taken a sound approach in updating its rules.