The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys who are named to lists such as “Super Lawyers” or “Best Lawyers in America” should be allowed to include that information in their advertising, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. A committee of the court — in a decision known as “Opinion 39” — ruled two years ago that such advertising violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. The panel said there was a prohibition against ads that are comparative or likely to create unjustified expectations about results.
Lawyers, however, contended that the advertising is a form of commercial speech protected by the First Amendment and not subject to blanket suppression. They were backed in June by a special master appointed by the court to review the issue. The Supreme Court said it agreed with the special master’s analysis that the ban on “truthful, fact-based claims in lawful professional advertising could be ruled unconstitutional…” The Supreme Court also asked three advisory committees to review and modify the rules on advertising. It said they should recommend changes that take into account concerns that such advertising could be misleading while respecting free speech.