By: Peter J. Gallagher (LinkedIn)
You know it’s “award season” – at least the legal world’s version of it – when your social media starts to fill up with posts that sound like this: “So honored to be included as one of the ‘Worlds Most Awesome Patent Lawyers’ with 43 other members of my firm.” The question for New Jersey lawyers is whether otherwise innocent humblebrags like this actually run afoul of our Rules of Professional Conduct. Somewhat surprisingly, most of these posts do.
Under RPC 7.1, lawyers cannot make false or misleading statements about their services. It used to be that any statements comparing one lawyer’s services to other lawyers’ services were deemed false and misleading. And since superlatives like “best,” “super,” “preeminent,” “distinguished,” “top,” “leading,” and “top-rated” are inherently comparative, this meant that no lawyer could advertise that they were included on a list of, for example, “New Jersey’s Best Lawyers.”
This changed about a decade ago when RPC 7.1 was amended to allow attorneys to advertise about winning comparative/superlative awards like this, but only if: “(i) the name of the comparing organization is stated, (ii) the basis for the comparison can be substantiated, and (iii) the communication includes the following disclaimer in a readily discernible manner: ‘No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.’”Continue reading “So can I call myself a Super Lawyer or not? Either way, can I still wear my cape?”