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Bar Rules: Adjectives to Try Instead of “Expert” and “Specialist”

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When describing a lawyer’s services many state bar rules prohibit the use of the terms “specialist,” “specialized,” and “expert” unless you are certified by the state bar or another accredited organization.

Most rules prohibit attorney advertising, including website copy, from presenting false or misleading information. Using “expert” and “specialist” in legal content writing is one of the most common violations of that rule.

There is an exception to claiming yourself as a “specialist” or “expert.”  If an attorney is certified by the Board of Legal Specialization in their state, he can share that information by stating that he or she is board certified.

Alternative Terms to Try

Below is a list of some alternative terms to “expert” or “specialist”. These words can be manipulated to express the same level of sophistication and knowledge that “expert” and “specialist” carry, yet abide by state bar rules. Note that you may need to tweak your sentence structure a bit.

  • accomplished
  • advisor
  • authority
  • chief
  • counsel
  • established
  • gifted
  • guru
  • knowledgeable
  • focus
  • masterly
  • maven
  • concentrate
  • professional
  • proficient
  • qualified
  • scholar
  • skillful
  • versed
  • virtuoso

The web offers many great resources to help you brainstorm other ways to express your expertise in an area. A visual thesaurus displays the words in a web-like image so you can see how they are connected.  Your Dictionary allows you to hunt for words using unique search settings, such as finding words that start with a particular letter and searching for words of a certain length.

Sentence Examples

Below are some examples of sentences where the prohibited word has been replaced with acceptable language:

  • We are experts in intellectual property law.
  • We are well-versed in intellectual property law. [Editor’s note: This sentenced should be followed by proof of your experience.]
  • Our expertise in commercial litigation is earned by more than 30 years of experience.
  • Practicing commercial litigation for more than 30 years, our knowledge and experienced is well-earned.
  • We specialize in environmental law, so you can be sure we are dedicated to seeing your case through.
  • We focus exclusively in environmental law, so you can be sure we are dedicated to seeing your case through.

How PaperStreet Can Help

PaperStreet’s team of legal writers (all attorneys) can create copy for your website that follows state bar rules. Our legal content writers can add in the appropriate disclaimers and make sure that the language is compelling, yet permissible. Contact us for more information about our content writing services.


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One Response to Bar Rules: Adjectives to Try Instead of “Expert” and “Specialist”

  1. Bar Friendly Adjectives You Can Use To Describe Your Attorneys | ALLISON GAGLIARDI


    3:22 pm on June 1st, 2014

    […] Read the full article. This articles was written for PaperStreet Web Design. […]

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