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2004 Formal Ethics Opinion 7

July 16, 2004

Advertising Combined Legal Experience

 

Opinion rules that it is misleading to advertise the number of years of experience of the lawyers with a firm without indicating that it is the combined legal experience of all of the lawyers with the firm.

 

Inquiry:

 

An advertisement for Jones, Smith & Johnson, PA, contains the statement, "Put our 30 years of experience to work for you." The law firm employs a number of lawyers.

 

Although the combined legal experience of these lawyers is 30 years, no single lawyer with the firm has practiced law for more than ten years. Is this statement in an advertisement allowed under the Rules of Professional Conduct?

 

Opinion:

 

No. Rule 7.1 prohibits false and misleading communications about a lawyer or a lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading. Rule 7.1(a). To comply with the rule, the Jones, Smith & Johnson advertisement must state that the "combined legal experience" of the lawyers with the firm is 30 years.

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