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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct

COMMENTS

Comment - Rule 7.4

This rule permits a lawyer to indicate areas of practice in communications about the lawyer’s services, for example, in a telephone directory or other advertising. If a lawyer practices only in certain fields, or will not accept matters except in such fields, the lawyer is permitted so to indicate. However, stating that the lawyer is a “specialist,” practices a “specialty,” or “specializes in” a particular field is not permitted unless in accordance with rule 7.4(c). These terms have acquired a secondary meaning implying formal recognition as a specialist. Hence, use of these terms may be misleading.

Recognition of specialization in patent matters is a matter of long-established policy of the Patent and Trademark Office. Designation of admiralty practice has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and the federal courts.

Paragraph (c) provides for certification as a specialist in a field of law where the Alabama State Bar Board of Legal Specialization has granted an organization the right to grant certification. Certification procedures imply that an objective entity has recognized a lawyer’s higher degree of specialized ability than is suggested by general licensure to practice law. Those objective entities may be expected to apply standards of competence, experience, and knowledge to insure that a lawyer’s recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. In order to insure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization or agency must be included in any communication regarding certification.