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N.J. lawyers barred from using some honors in ads

By The Associated Press
07.24.06

TRENTON, N.J. — Lawyers who practice in New Jersey should stop advertising their inclusion as "Super Lawyers" in an annual magazine supplement or their listings in a "Best Lawyers in America" directory because such designations could be potentially misleading, a New Jersey Supreme Court committee has determined.

In an opinion issued last week, the court's Committee on Attorney Advertising said such advertising violates a rule against advertisements that are "comparative in nature," The New York Times reported in its July 22 editions.

The panel also prohibited all advertising by lawyers in a supplement of The New Jersey Monthly magazine, even if they do not use the words "super lawyer," because a reader might see the same names in the ads and text and believe the label confers a recommendation.

"This simplistic use of a media-generated sound bite title clearly has the capacity to materially mislead the public," the committee said in its opinion.

The "Super Lawyers" are included in an annual advertising section of New Jersey Monthly magazine and is later published as a stand-alone issue.

The magazine and another publishing company send ballots to about 35,000 lawyers in the Garden State, asking them to nominate lawyers whose work they know and, from that group, choose who they believe are "the top 5 percent in the state."

Meanwhile, the "Best Lawyers in America" directory — a national referral guide published by Woodward/White Inc. — was included in the court committee's opinion, even though it does not contain advertising. However, it has started advertising supplements in some areas of the nation.


Update
N.J. high court gives 'Super Lawyers' temporary reprieve
Justices put hold on ruling that attorneys can't advertise in two top-lawyer lists while publishers challenge decision on First Amendment grounds. 08.21.06

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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

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