84-F-76 - Listing areas of practice in Martindale-Hubbell

 

BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 84-F-76


Inquiry is made as to the ethical obligations of an attorney in listing in the biographical section of Martindale-Hubbell three areas of practice to which he devotes a significant portion of his time.

Beginning with the 1985 Edition, the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory will afford each attorney for whom a biographical sketch is published, the opportunity to indicate up to three area(s) of law encompassed in that lawyer's practice. This will appear at the end of the biographical sketch. For the 1985 Edition, this will only be offered in states that do not have a formal specialization program in place.

Reference to the area(s) of practice will appear in some distinctive type style, probably italics. This new feature will not be available to individual subscribers as they display this information in the Statement of Practice section of their professional card which immediately follows the address of the office and, therefore, this would be repetitive in those cases.

The following language will appear at the bottom of each page of the biographical section:

For significance of fields of law in biographical sketches, see explanatory notes on inside cover.

The Explanatory Notes and Symbols Section which appears on the front inside cover of each volume of the Directory will read as follows:

Fields of Law appearing at the end of individual lawyers' biographical sketches indicate the area(s) of practice to which he or she devotes a significant portion of professional time. In each case, the information has been supplied by the attorney and constitutes a 'representation' by him or her and does not imply official approval or certification by any State authority.

All 'officially recognized' specialties are indicated with language which identifies the approving or certifying authority. Such programs are now in existence in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.

The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory is intended for the use of lawyers in the practice of law and is marketed on that basis. The directory is not actively marketed to the lay public.

Disciplinary Rule 2-101(C) of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

If a lawyer publishes or broadcasts a communication that contains any listing of legal services for specific areas of practice, the communication must include the following precise wording:

LISTING OF THE ABOVE LEGAL SERVICES OR SPECIFIC AREAS OF PRACTICE DOES NOT INDICATE ANY CERTIFICATION OF EXPERTISE THEREIN.

The risks incumbent in advertisements intended for the lay public are not present in this instance. Therefore, for the circumstances as related herein, the disclaimer as proposed in
the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory substantially complies with the disclaimer contained in DR 2-101(C).

Therefore, there is no impropriety in an attorney listing in the biographical section of Martindale-Hubbell three areas of practice to which he devotes a significant portion of his time.

This 16th day of October, 1984.

ETHICS COMMITTEE:

G. Wilson Horde
Charles T. Herndon, III
Henry H. Hancock
O. B. Hofstetter, Jr.
William R. Willis

APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD