Posted Oct 26, 2007 12:44 pm CDT
It cost $20,000 for law firms to appear in a one-page “platinum profile” that congratulated their lawyers for making the list of Super Lawyers. But some lawyers and ethics bodies are questioning the expenditure.
The profiles appeared in an 80-page advertising supplement that recently ran in the New York Times Magazine, according to Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com. The Super Lawyers ranking, developed by Minneapolis-based Law & Politics, is based on nominations by the lawyers’ peers.
The ABA Journal reported in a January article that some lawyers are finding their way onto such lists with the help of coaching and seminars that explain how they can get a leg up on the competition.
One lawyer told Portfolio.com he finds it “a tad embarrassing” to be designated a Super Lawyer. “I don’t know why anyone would spend their money to get their picture or firm in there,” said Mark Edelstein, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s real estate financing practice. “It makes you feel like you are selling toilet paper or something.”
Some ethicists are also concerned. An opinion (PDF) by the Committee on Attorney Advertising in New Jersey said lawyers should not buy ads touting their ratings in surveys done by Super Lawyers. The opinion, later stayed by the New Jersey Supreme Court, said the ratings can create an unjustified expectation of results for potential clients.
Lawyers faced off on the ethics issue at a hearing earlier this month, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports.