Legal Ethics

Law firms can't describe 'specialties' on LinkedIn, New York ethics opinion says


Law firms may not describe their services in a section of LinkedIn devoted to specialties, according to a New York ethics opinion.

New York ethics rules allow lawyers, but not law firms, to state that they have been certified as a specialist, according to the June 26 opinion (PDF) by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics. As a result, only appropriately certified lawyers may list specialties, provided that they comply with disclosure requirements. The ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct has a summary.

According to the ethics opinion, a law firm may identify areas of law practice. “But to list those areas under a heading of ‘Specialties,’ would constitute a claim that the lawyer or law firm ‘is a specialist or specializes in a particular field of law,’ ” the opinion said.

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