First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
N.J. high court gives 'Super Lawyers' temporary reprieve

By The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — The state Supreme Court has put the brakes on a recent ruling by an attorney-ethics committee that stops lawyers from advertising their inclusion on two top-lawyer lists.

Each year, lawyers are surveyed and the results are published with self-congratulatory ads from attorneys and their firms.

The lists, which include the "Best Lawyers in America" and "Super Lawyers," appear as stand-alone publications or as inserts in city magazines and other media.

Last month, a committee appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that lawyers on the lists can't advertise themselves as "super" or "best" because it violates the state's rules of professional conduct.

"These self-aggrandizing titles have the potential to lead an unwary consumer to believe that the lawyers so described are ... superior to their colleagues," the New Jersey Committee on Attorney Advertising wrote.

On Aug. 18, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to put a hold on the prohibition while the publishers of the two lists fight the ruling on First Amendment grounds.

Lawyers for "Best Lawyers" told The Star-Ledger of Newark that they were thrilled about the Aug. 18 ruling.

"There are substantial constitutional questions in play," said Stuart Hoberman, a former president of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Attorneys in the case say they expect to file briefs in the next few days, though the court hasn't indicated when it will make a final ruling.

The "Super Lawyers" moniker is the invention of the Minnesota magazine Law & Politics, and both are published by Key Professional Media Inc. A similar publication, "Best Lawyers in America," is published by Aiken, S.C.-based Woodward/White Inc.

N.J. lawyers barred from using some honors in ads
Committee says attorneys should stop advertising their inclusion as 'Super Lawyers' in magazine supplement because designation could be potentially misleading. 07.24.06


New rules require prior OK of Fla. lawyers' TV, radio ads

State high court endorses guidelines requiring attorneys to get Florida Bar approval for advertisements before airing them. 11.05.06

'Heavy Hitters' law firm wins free-speech ruling on ads
But New York state will appeal decision that would allow Alexander & Catalano, personal-injury attorneys, to advertise themselves using the term. 07.25.07

Federal judge: Web site is free to rate lawyers
Scores might not be worth much, but they're protected by the First Amendment, court rules in dismissing Seattle attorneys' class-action complaint. 12.20.07

Attorney ads

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

print this   Print

Last system update: Friday, July 25, 2008 | 04:56:26
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links