Ohio R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.4

As amended through November 15, 2022
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 or limits his or her practice to or concentrates in particular fields of law.
(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 trademark practice may use the designation "Trademarks," "Trademark Attorney," or a substantially similar designation.
(d) A lawyer engaged in Admiralty practice may use the designation "Admiralty," "Proctor in Admiralty," or a substantially similar designation.
(e) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is a specialist in a particular field of law, unless both of the following apply:
(1) the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization approved by the Supreme Court Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists;
(2) the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.

Ohio. R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.4

Comment

[1] Division (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.

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

[3] Division (e) permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is a specialist in a field of law if such certification is granted by an organization approved by the Supreme Court Commission on Certification of Attorneys 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 ensure that a lawyer's recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. In order to ensure 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.

Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility

Rule 7.4 is comparable to DR 2-105 except that it permits a lawyer to state that he or she is a "specialist," practices a "specialty," or "specializes in" particular fields, subject to the "false and misleading" standard contained in Rule 7.1.

Comparison to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 7.4(a) is modified to include the existing ability of a lawyer to indicate that the lawyer's practice is limited to or concentrates in particular fields of law. Division (c) is added from DR 2-105(A)(1) and the remaining divisions are relettered.