Ethics Opinion 151

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #151 – 08/28/1970 (33-70)
Topic: Application for position of attorney for school district
Digest: An attorney may properly submit an application for position as attorney for a school district

Code: DR 2-103 (A)

QUESTION

A school district advertises that the Board of Education will fill a vacancy in the position of attorney and requests interested parties to submit a written letter of application. Is it ethically proper for a lawyer to make such application?

OPINION

In ABA 74 (1932) it was held that an application for appointment or election to a municipal office which can only be filled by an attorney was not the type of solicitation of professional employment at which former Canon 27 was directed and that such an application by an attorney was ethically proper.This opinion was approved in ABA 244 (1942) and specifically held to be still valid in ABA Inf. 941 (1966).Lawyers willing to accept public office are limited in number, and if the municipality asks lawyers generally to let it know who is interested in accepting such a position, it is a matter of community service for the lawyer to make known his willingness. Of course, the application should be dignified, should give only the information asked for, and should not indulge in unsolicited, self-laudatory statements. Bidding for the position would, of course, be improper.This committee approves and adopts the ABA opinion.

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