SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA
IN THE MATTER OF ) ) Case No. 45S00-9611-DI-721 ANONYMOUS ) ____________________________________________________________________________
station and provided text for an advertisement of his law office. The text he submitted for
the ad was culled from "canned" advertisements the respondent purchased from a legal
periodical several years before. The respondent allowed his office manager to send the
material to the radio station without first reviewing its contents. On March 15, 1995, the
radio station broadcast the advertisement, which stated that the respondent "specialize[d] in
personal injury cases." At the time the advertisement aired, the respondent was not certified
as a specialist in any area of the law under Ind.Admission and Discipline Rule 30.
Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 7.4(a) provides that lawyers may not express or imply any particular expertise except that authorized by Prof.Cond.R. 7.4(b), which in turn allows certification as a specialist only when authorized by the provisions of Admis.Disc.R. 30. Admission and Discipline Rule 30 provides, in relevant part:
Section 5. Qualification Standards for Certification. (a) To be recognized as certified in a field of law in the State of Indiana, the lawyer must be duly admitted to the bar of this state, in active status, and in good standing, throughout the period for which the certification is granted.
(b) The lawyer must be certified by an ICO [independent certifying
organization] approved by CLE [Commission for Continuing Legal
Education], and must be in full compliance with the Indiana Bar Certification
Review Plan, the rules and policies of the ICO and the rules and policies of
At the time the respondent's radio advertisement aired, he was not certified as a specialist in the area of personal injury law pursuant to Admis.Disc.R. 30. We therefore find that he violated Prof.Cond.R. 7.4(a) by expressing an expertise when he was not certified as a specialist pursuant to Admis.Disc.R. 30.
We find that a private reprimand is appropriate in this case largely because the
respondent's misconduct was unintentional. The offending content of the advertisement
made its way on air due to the respondent's failure to review the material prior to submitting
it to the radio station. We therefore view his misconduct as less culpable than if he had
knowingly submitted a wrongful advertisement.
It is, therefore, ordered that the tendered Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline is approved, and accordingly, the respondent is to be given a private reprimand.
Costs of this proceeding are assessed against the respondent.
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