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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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RULE 7.4: COMMUNICATION OF
FIELDS OF PRACTICE AND SPECIALIZATION

(a) A lawyer who is certified under Rule 408, SCACR, as a specialist in a specialty field designated by the Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization and approved by the Supreme Court, or a lawyer who has been issued a certificate of specialization by an independent certifying organization approved by the Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization pursuant to the Regulations for Legal Specialization in South Carolina, Part IV, Appendix D, § VI, SCACR, is entitled to advertise or state publicly in any manner otherwise permitted by these rules that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in South Carolina. The name of the certifying organization must be clearly identified in the communication.

(b) A lawyer who is not certified as a specialist but who concentrates in, limits his or her practice to, or wishes to announce a willingness to accept cases in a particular field may so advertise or publicly state in any manner otherwise permitted by these rules. To avoid confusing or misleading the public and to protect the objectives of the South Carolina certified specialization program, any such advertisement or statements shall be strictly factual and shall not contain any form of the words "certified," "specialist," "expert," or "authority" except as permitted by Rule 7.4(c) and (d).

(c) 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. A lawyer engaged in the trademark practice may use the designation "trademarks," "trademark attorney," or "trademark lawyer" or any combination of those terms.

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

(e) A lawyer certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court Board of Arbitrator and Mediator Certification to be appointed as a mediator or arbitrator pursuant to Appendix G to Part IV of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules or Rule 19 of the South Carolina Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules may use the designation "certified mediator" or "certified arbitrator" or any combination of those terms.

Comment

[1] Paragraph (a) permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in a field of law if the lawyer has been certified under Rule 408, SCACR, as a specialist in a specialty field designated by the Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization and approved by the Supreme Court or by an independent certifying organization approved by the Commission.  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.

[2] Paragraph (b) of this Rule permits a lawyer to indicate areas of practice in communications about the lawyer's services, for example, in a telephone directory or other advertising. If a lawyer practices only in certain fields, or will not accept matters except in such fields, the lawyer is permitted to so indicate.

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