Rule 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization.

 (a)  A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law. A lawyer shall not state that the lawyer is a specialist except as follows:

   (1)  a lawyer admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation ‘‘patent attorney’’ or a substantially similar designation;

   (2)  a lawyer engaged in admiralty practice may use the designation ‘‘admiralty,’’ ‘‘proctor in admiralty’’ or a substantially similar designation;

   (3)  a lawyer who has been certified by an organization approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as a certifying organization in accordance with paragraph (b) may advertise the certification during such time as the certification of the lawyer and the approval of the organization are both in effect;

   (4)  a lawyer may communicate that the lawyer is certified in a field of practice only when that communication is not false or misleading and that certification is granted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

 (b)  Upon recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania may approve for purposes of paragraph (a) an organization that certifies lawyers, if the Court finds that:

   (1)  advertising by a lawyer of certification by the certifying organization will provide meaningful information, which is not false, misleading or deceptive, for use of the public in selecting or retaining a lawyer; and

   (2)  certification by the organization is available to all lawyers who meet objective and consistently applied standards relevant to practice in the area of the law to which the certification relates.

 The approval of the certifying organization shall be for such period not longer than five (5) years as the Court shall order, and may be renewed upon recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Comment:

   (1) 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’’ is not permitted unless the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by a certifying organization approved under the procedure of paragraph (b). The standards in paragraph (b)(1) and (2) are intended to comply with the requirements for advertising claims of specialization set forth in Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, 496 U. S. 91, 110 L.Ed.2d 83, 110 S.Ct. 2281 (1990).



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