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Rule 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice.

 

Colo. RPC 7.4(2012)
Rule 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice.
 **reflects changes received through March 13, 2012**

 

 

(a) A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law or that the lawyer is a specialist in particular fields of law. Such communication shall be in accordance with Rule 7.1.  

(b) 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.

(c) A lawyer engaged in admiralty practice may use the designation "admiralty," "proctor in admiralty" or a substantially similar designation.

(d) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:

(1) the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and

(2) the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.

(e) In any advertisement in which a lawyer affirmatively claims to be certified in any area of the law, such advertisement shall contain the following disclosure: "Colorado does not certify lawyers as specialists in any field." This disclaimer is not required where the information concerning the lawyer's services is contained in a law list, law directory or a publication intended primarily for use of the legal profession.

 

Source: (g) added and adopted June 12, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; entire rule and comment amended and adopted and committee comment deleted June 12, 1997, effective January 1, 1998; entire Appendix repealed and readopted April 12, 2007, effective January 1, 2008.

 
COMMENT

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

 [3] Paragraph (d) 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 an appropriate state authority or accredited by the American Bar Association or another organization, such as a state bar association, that has been approved by the state authority to accredit organizations that certify lawyers 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 insure that a lawyer's recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. In order to insure 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.

 [4] A claim of certification contained in a lawyer's letterhead does not require the disclaimer in Rule 7.4(e) unless the letterhead is used in an advertisement.