Ethics Opinion 077

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #77 – 06/06/1968 (6-68)

Topic:  Advertising. Notice of change of office location
Digest:  Erection of public sign at site of proposed new office building
Canon: Former Canon 27

QUESTION

An attorney who is required to move from his present office location because of the widening of a street by the State asks whether it is proper for him to erect a sign at the construction site of his new office building. It will recite the firm name and state the office will be relocated there due “to the New York State taking over the present location at (address and zip code).

OPINION

Canon 27 provides that it is “unprofessional to solicit professional employment by …advertisements” direct or indirect.Every indirect form of advertising designed to secure professional employment is improper. (Drinker, Legal Ethics 232 and 247.) General announcements of the removal of an office to a new location are discouraged as an appeal to the public for employment. ABA 264 states that announcements should be by card sent only to attorneys, clients and close friends who would consider the news of genuine interest and value. The cards should not go to persons with whom an attorney has no personal dealings or relations, and to whom it would be a suggestion of employment.  ABA Inf. 146 is to the same effect.ABA Inf. 142A and C447 hold that notice of removal of an office to another building by any other method than the customary use of simple professional cards is improper, that the cards should be sent only to clients or other attorneys, and specifically condemns the use of newspapers advertisements in any but a professional paper.It is the opinion of the Committee that the proposed sign would be a notice in the nature of an advertisement to the general public of the present location of the attorney’s office and the location of the new office. It would not be directed to those with whom the firm has existing personal or professional relationship. It would have the effect of soliciting employment and violate Canon 27.

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
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