Tuesday, March 07, 2006

NJ Supreme Court Ethics Op.- Disclaimers on Attorney Internet Ads

This comes from W. Horsnby's blog regarding NJ attorney advertising:

New Jersey Supreme Court’s Committee on Attorney Advertising issued an ethics opinion that limits the use of the Internet for client development. Opinion 36, issued January 2, 2006, states that lawyers who pays a flat fee for an online listing and receives an exclusive listing for a county for a particular field of practice “must ensure that the listing or advertisement contains a prominently and unmistakably displayed disclaimer, in a presentation at least equal to the largest and most prominent font and type on the site, declaring that “all attorney listings are a paid attorney advertisement, and do not in any way constitute a referral or endorsement by an approved or authorized lawyer referral service.”

Hornsby wrote: "Usually ethics opinions are presented as sources of direction that fall short of legal authority. But this opinion states that a lawyer “must” ensure that the advertiser provide this specific disclaimer. Some might conclude that this should be the role of the court itself and, if important enough, the court should change its rule to provide such a requirement."

I checked a few of the more well known sites that use this type of format, and as of today none of the ones I checked that listed a NJ attorney had this disclaimer. Is anyone paying attention?