ATTORNEY ADVERTISING OF AWARDS, HONORS, AND ACCOLADES THATCOMPARE A LAWYER'S SERVICES To OTHER LAWYERS' SERVICESREMINDERFROM THE COMMITTEE ON ATTORNEY ADVERTISING (Supreme Court of New Jersey)
...When an award, honor, or accolade meets this preliminary test, the lawyer must include additional information when referring to it in attorney advertising, whether that advertising be a website, law firm letterhead, lawyer email signature block, or other form of communication. First, the lawyer must provide a description of the standard or methodology on which the award, honor, or accolade is based, either in the advertising itself or by reference to a "convenient, publicly available source." Official Comment to RPC 7 .1.
Second, the lawyer must include the name of the comparing organization that issued the award (note that the name of the organization is often different from the name of the award or the name of the magazine in which the award results were published). RPC 7.1 ( a)(3 )(i).
Third, the lawyer must include this disclaimer "in a readily discernible manner: 'No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey."' RPC 7.l(a)(3)(iii). All of this additional, accompanying language must be presented in proximity to the reference to the award, honor, or accolade.
Further, when the name of an award, honor, or accolade contains a superlative, such as "super," "best," "superior," "leading," "top-rated," or the like, the advertising must state only that the lawyer was included in the list with that name, and not suggest that the lawyer has that attribute. Hence, a lawyer may state that he or she was included in the list called "Super Lawyers" or "The Best Lawyers in America," and must not describe the lawyer as being l! "Super Lawyer" or the "Best Lawyer."
Lastly, the Committee has reviewed numerous law firm advertising that includes badges or logos of comparative awards (such as the yellow "Super Lawyers" badge) but does not include the required additional information in a discernible manner in proximity to the reference to the award.
Every reference to such an award, honor, or accolade even when it is in an abbreviated form such as the badge or logo- must include the required accompanying information: (1) a description of the standard or methodology; (2) the name of the comparing organization that issued the award; (3) the statement "No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey." Only the description of the standard or methodology can be presented by reference (with the statement that the standard or methodology can be viewed at that website or hyperlinked page).
The other required information must be stated on the face of the advertising, readily discernible and in proximity to the reference to the award. The accompanying information cannot be buried at the bottom of a page, or in tiny print, or placed outside the screen shot on a website.
For example, a reference to the Super Lawyers accolade should provide:
"Jane Doe was selected to the 2016 Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.superlawvers.com/about/selection process detail.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey."