NO MORE "SUPER LAWYERS" IN NEW JERSEY . . . It's news that's apparently causing a firestorm in New Jersey--
A New Jersey Supreme Court ethics panel knocked "SuperLawyers" and "Best Lawyers in America" out of the business of ranking New Jersey lawyers on July 19 by prohibiting attorneys from advertising their inclusion and taking part in the selection process.
The Committee on Attorney Advertising says in Opinion 39 that ads trumpeting a lawyer's inclusion in the two rankings violate the rule of professional conduct against suggestions that one lawyer is better than another.
Here's one question that leaps to mind: what about the Martindale-Hubbell rankings? Will those also be verboten in New Jersey? Apparently, the answer is no: the opinion by the New Jersey ethics panel makes a distinction between Martindale-Hubbell, which is primarily marketed to lawyers, and Superlawyers and Best Lawyers in America, which are often marketed to consumers. In addition, Martindale-Hubbell's AV, BC, and CV-type rankings don't mean much to the public, according to the panel.
This is all according to the linked article, "Ethics Crusaders Crush 'SuperLawyers'," by Henry Gottlieb. Apparently, most other state bars allow the offending publications. Although I'm admittedly no expert in lawyer-ranking services, Superlawyers and the Best Lawyers in America don't seem to me to do much harm: sure they might be a something of a big-firm popularity contest, featuring not only the best but often the most expensive lawyers in America, but at least it's impossible for sub-par lawyers to buy their way in.
That's my understanding of the process, anyway. If I'm wrong, please set me straight.