Readers of this blog know that I have been critical of the New Jersey Committee on Lawyer Advertising’s recent ruling that prohibits lawyers from touting their being listed in either “Super Lawyers” or “Best Lawyers in America” directories, while permitting the rating system by Martindale-Hubbell. I have also posted on the fact that the ruling is being challenged.

Although I have not changed my opinion on the decision itself, and believe it should be overturned, it appears that one of the directories’ (“Super Lawyers”) rating system may not be as “peer-determined” as their web site indicates. According to Larry Bodine on his Professional Services Marketing blog, the feedback that he got from several in-house marketing directors at a recent marketing conference in Chicago indicates that it isn’t.  He relates:

  • One Ohio firm was notified that three of their attorneys (one dead, one retired) had been selected for inclusion as Super Lawyers, so the marketing director called and asked that three different lawyers be listed, and they were, according to the story.
  • Another director said that after several attorneys complained about NOT being listed, he/she called and got them included after buying some advertising.

If these stories are true, then this directory’s peer-review system needs a lot of work, to put it mildly. Nonetheless, the basis for the NJ prohibition still doesn’t make sense, even if one directory’s rating system is laughable.