Ethics Opinion 211

By Committee on Professional Ethics

Ethics Opinion 211

Professional Ethics Committee Opinions

Opinion #211 – 11/22/1971 (43-71)

Overruled (in part) by 540
Topic: Advertising Bar Association Pamphlets
Digest: Pamphlets on legal topics may not be used for personal gain
Code: Canon 2, EC 2-2; 2-3; 8-3, DR 2-104


May an attorney teaching an adult education class distribute New York State Bar Association published pamphlets to his class with his name stamped thereon?May such pamphlets be distributed to the general public by a judicial candidate?


The distribution of New York State Bar Association published pamphlets to clients and friends that in no way refer to any specific lawyer or law firm is permitted canon 2; N.Y. State 46 (1967); ABA Inf. 846 (1965).This exception to the prohibition against advertising and against the suggestion of the need for legal services is permitted if motivated by a desire to benefit laymen and the public and is carried out in such a way as to obviate the impression that such is being done to increase professional employment. EC 2-2; EC 2-3; EC 8-3; DR 2-104; ABA 121 (1934); ABA Inf. 846 (1965).Distribution of these pamphlets to friends and clients or under such circumstances as will not give rise to the appearance that the distribution is for personal gain is commendable. Thus, the distribution of such pamphlets as a teaching aid to a class is permissible provided there is not contained thereon or therein the name of the attorney teacher, lawyer or law firm that may have procured and distributed such pamphlets. ABA Inf. 631 (1963); Drinker, Legal Ethics 257 (1953).Use of New York State Bar Association pamphlets in a political campaign would tend to depreciate their value in the eyes of the public and suggests an attempt to give the appearance of support by the Bar Association to a particular candidate. Such use would be improper.

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