Ethics Opinion 100

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #100 – 05/02/1969 (4-69)
Topic: Newspaper Publicity

Digest: Press release referring to attorneys – indirect advertising
Canon: Former Canon 27

QUESTION

Is it ethical for an attorney to promote, inspire or encourage a newspaper to publish a report regarding his individual attendance at a conference or symposium on a particular field of law also attended by the lawyers, emphasizing the name of the lawyer, the importance of the field of law and the importance of skill in such field.

OPINION

Such conduct is unethical and a violation of Canon 27. (ABA Inf. C-479 and ABA Inf. 546.)As stated in Matter of Connolly, etc., 18 App. Div. 2d 466, 478; 240 N.Y.S. 2d 126, 138:”We agree, however, that, where a newsworthy or public interest article, published in a newspaper or magazine, is in good taste, a charge of a violation of canon 27 is not necessarily made out merely by proof of a lawyer’s cooperation in the publication therein of certain of his activities or achievements….’Broadly speaking the question is said to be one of professional good faith and good taste…. There can be no justification for the participation and acquiescence by an attorney in the development and publication of an article which, on its face, plainly amounts to a self interest and unethical presentation of his achievements and capabilities.”In this case the attorney was only one of many lawyers who attended the conference and singling him out for special attention was clearly an attempt to promote him as an attorney knowledgeable in a particular field of law. An attorney cannot ethically promote, inspire or encourage such publicity. (N.Y. State 67)

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