To most practicing lawyers, the Super Lawyers designation is nothing but a fraud on the public, and most of them will have no role in participating in the annual unscientific rating of lawyers, which by all appearances can be bought for the right price by purchasing advertising in the annual publication that publishes the dubious list.
Other states have looked at this form of advertising and found it runs afoul of Rule 7.1 regarding lawyer advertising. Interestingly, when the rule was revamped in 2010, the Supreme Court narrowed the definition of unlawful lawyer advertising. It used to prohibit communications containing "false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, self-laudatory or unfair" statements. Now that rule only prohibits "false or misleading" statements about the lawyer or his services. The commentary to the rule provides, however, that otherwise truthful statements are misleading if they "compare the services provided by the lawyer or a law firm with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated. Calling oneself a Super Lawyer because you were able to convince a communications company in the business to make money proffering this service fails that test in my humble opinion.
When the legal publisher bestows a "Super Lawyer" designation on a practicing lawyer in Indiana, it gives the public the impression that the results a client will achieve by hiring one of these attorneys is superior to what any other attorney can achieve for them when there is absolutely no factual substantiation for that claim to be made. It is beyond me why the Indiana Supreme Court hasn't spoken up and expressly prohibited attorneys from advertising that they are a "Super Lawyer." I just want the public to know that the manner in which this designation is arrived at bears no semblance to a lawyer's capabilities when it comes to practicing law in this state. It's misleading, it's unfair and it should be a prohibited form of advertising.
The publisher says it selects its annual list by picking from lawyers who were previously bestowed the designation. In looking for new candidates to add to the list, it looks at "region, gender and ethnicity" in order to promote diversity. It claims it is partial to lawyers who are "breaking new legal ground or have a career's worth of notable accomplishments." Of course, it insists advertising doesn't influence its list. The list is "never for sale." Yeah, right.