Ethics Opinion 239

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Committee on Professional Ethics

Opinion #239 – 03/17/1972 (18-72)
Topic: Advertising, Letterheads
Digest: Organization’s letterhead should not list occupation of lawyer­officers or lawyer-directors
Code: DR 2-101(A) 1 2-101(B); EC 2-9R 2-10

QUESTION

May a lawyer permit an association of lawyers and laymen to use a letterhead which carries the lawyer’s name prominently as president and lists as the organization’s office address and telephone number the lawyer’s office address and telephone number?May a lawyer-director of such association permit himself to be listed on the association’s stationery with his firm name, the designation “Esq.”, or the word “Attorney”?

OPINION

In view of the fact that the activities of this association are closely allied to the practice of law and readily lend themselves to use as a feeder for legal practice it would not be proper for a lawyer to permit the organization to carry his name, office address and telephone number on the organization’s stationery as its office address and telephone number. See N.Y. State 206 (1971).The listing of directors on the association’s letterhead with an indication that they are lawyers likewise is improper. See N.Y. State 213 (1971). The listing may have advertising value to the association, but any such benefit must yield to the public interest in deterring lawyers from seeking legal business by publicizing themselves as lawyers. DR 2-101(A) ; DR 2-101(B); EC 2-9; EC 2-10. Indirect identification of a lawyer as such is, of course, no more permissible than direct.

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