84-F-72 - Vacated*

*Vacated by the Board of Professional Responsibility on September 11, 2015 due to changes in the law or rules.

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 84-F-72


Inquiry is made as to the propriety of an attorney licensed to practice law in
Tennessee and board certified in immigration and nationality law in another state
advertising his specialty and citing the fact of board certification in place of the
disclaimer provided for in DR 2-101(C).


The attorney has been practicing immigration and nationality law for approximately 17 years.
Approximately 90% of his practice is devoted to immigration and nationality law. He has
written numerous articles in professional magazines, lectured extensively and, for the past 14
years, has been a member of the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers and
attended all their meetings.
The attorney proposes to become board certified in immigration and nationality law by the Texas
Board of Legal Specialization and inquires if he will be permitted to cite the board certification
in his advertising in place of the disclaimer provided for in DR 2-101(C) of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
(C) If a lawyer publishes or broadcasts a communication that
contains any listing of legal services for specific areas of
practice, the communication must include the following
precise wording:
LISTING OF THE ABOVE LEGAL SERVICES OR
SPECIFIC AREAS OF PRACTICE DOES NOT
INDICATE ANY CERTIFICATION OF EXPERTISE
THEREIN.
(1) When the above disclaimer is required, it must be
included in the communication in a prominent
manner.
(2) Television commercials must include the disclaimer
in the audible and the visible broadcast. In the
visible broadcast of the disclaimer, the size of print,
contrast with other images on the screen at the same
time, and duration of broadcast must be adequate to
insure that television viewers with average vision
and education can read the disclaimer when viewing
the broadcast on standard television receiving
equipment.
84-F-72 Page 2
(3) In the audible broadcast of radio and television
commercials, the volume, speed of delivery and
1DR 2-101(D) provides that applications to expand the advertising rule may be filed with the
Board, Tennessee Bar Association and local bar associations for a hearing on the issue of
whether the expansion of the rule will facilitate the process of informed selection of lawyers by
potential consumers of legal services.
clarity of tone must be adequate to render the
disclaimer at least as clearly audible as any other
part of the broadcast.
Ethical Consideration 2-14 of the Code provides:
EC 2-14. In some instances, a lawyer confines his practice to a
particular field of law. In the absence of state controls to insure the
existence of special competence, a lawyer should not be permitted
to hold
himself out as a specialist or as having official recognition as a
specialist, other than in the fields of admiralty, trademark, and
patent law where a holding out as a specialist historically has been
permitted. Pending the adoption of an appropriate rule, a lawyer
may not indicate in permitted advertising a limitation of his
practice or a concentration in one or more particular areas or fields
of law, except as provided for in EC 2-8.
Ethical Consideration 2-8 of the Code provides, in part:
Selection of a lawyer by a layperson should be made on an
informed basis ....
... In order to provide useful information to potential consumers of
legal services, lawyers may advertise, but only in conformity with
DR 2-101.
Pending the adoption of a rule on specialization, a lawyer may not publish or broadcast a
communication that contains any listing of legal services for specific areas of practice without
including the precise wording of the disclaimer contained in DR 2-101(C).1
This 13th day of June , 1984.
ETHICS COMMITTEE:
Henry H. Hancock
W. J. Flippin
Edwin C. Townsend
APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD