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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - 7.4

[1] Division (a) of this rule permits a lawyer to indicate areas of practice in communications about the lawyer’s services. If a lawyer practices only in certain fields, or will not accept matters except in a specified field or fields, the lawyer is permitted to so indicate. A lawyer is generally permitted to state that the lawyer is a “specialist,” practices a “specialty,” or “specializes in” particular fields, but such communications are subject to the “false and misleading” standard applied in Rule 7.1 to communications concerning a lawyer’s services.

[2] Divisions (b) and (c) recognize the long-established policy of the Patent and Trademark Office for the designation of lawyers practicing before the office. Division (d) recognizes that designation of Admiralty practice has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and the federal courts.

[3] Division (e) permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in a field of law if such certification is granted by an organization approved by the Supreme Court Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists. Certification signifies that an objective entity has recognized an advanced degree of knowledge and experience in the specialty area greater than is suggested by general licensure to practice law. Certifying organizations may be expected to apply standards of experience, knowledge, and proficiency to ensure that a lawyer’s recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. In order to ensure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization must be included in any communication regarding the certification.

Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility

Rule 7.4 is comparable to DR 2-105 except that it permits a lawyer to state that he or she is a “specialist,” practices a “specialty,” or “specializes in” particular fields, subject to the “false and misleading” standard contained in Rule 7.1.

Comparison to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 7.4(a) is modified to include the existing ability of a lawyer to indicate that the lawyer’s practice is limited to or concentrates in particular fields of law. Division (c) is added from DR 2-105(A)(1) and the remaining divisions are relettered.