These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
 
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  Topic: 86 - Descriptions of Certification and Specialization
LEO NumTopicsSummaryDate
0923

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer advertising that the lawyer "specializes" in a certain area does not necessarily violate the prohibition on a lawyer falsely claiming that the lawyer is a "recognized" or "certified" specialist. 6/11/1987
0427

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer may circulate an advertisement indicating that the lawyer's "practice includes" specified areas of practice. 8/14/1981
0456

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer may publicize certification as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. [Rule 7.4(d) would also require a disclaimer indicating that Virginia has no procedure for approving certifying organizations.]4/16/1982
0572

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer may publicize the areas of practice in which the lawyer primarily practices. 4/20/1984
1107

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer may use a brochure indicating that the lawyer "specializes" in certain areas, because the advertisement does not say that the lawyer is a "recognized or certified" specialist. 8/1/1988
1292

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82-Advertising

86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A lawyer who has lectured in a CLE program may advertise this fact as long as the advertisement is accurate and does not imply that the lawyer is a certified specialist. 10/19/1989
1001

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84-Direct Mail Marketing

86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

A solicitation letter may indicate that a lawyer practices "primarily" in certain legal areas, but may not indicate that the lawyer's fees "are substantially lower than the normal rates for this community." 11/24/1987
1425

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16-Lawyer's Personal Interests

86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

It is not per se unethical for a lawyer to advertise a specialty in a certain area as long as the advertisement does not indicate that the lawyer is a recognized or certified specialist. A lawyer may publish an article as long as it is accurate. 9/16/1991
0979

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

Using the term "professional experience and expertise" does not automatically violate the rule prohibiting a lawyer from falsely claiming to be a "recognized" or "certified" specialist in a certain area of law. 11/13/1987
1231

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86-Descriptions of Certification and Specialization

Using the word "specialize" in an advertisement does not automatically imply that a lawyer is a "recognized" or "certified" specialist, but it would be preferable for a lawyer to explain that the lawyer has limited his or her practice to certain areas. 5/2/1989

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn