NYSBA Ethics Opinion 01

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NYSBA Ethics Opinion 01

Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion # 1 -_11/06/1964 (1-64)

Topic: Advice by Lawyer to Secure Legal Services.

Notice to Clients of Change in Law.
Digest: Particularly affected clients may be notified of a change in the law, but a general notice to all clients is improper.
Canon: None


An attorney calls attention to the decision of Mr. Justice Sullivan in Haight vs. McEwen, 43 Misc. 582, in which it was held that a cause of action is stated by a complaint which alleges that the plaintiff suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of watching the defendant so negligently operate his automobile as to strike and kill her son even though there was no physical contact between her and the defendant’s vehicle.
The attorney inquires whether, in view of this new development in the law, he may not apprise his regular clients of the fact that it is no longer necessary in negligence cases in this state to have actual contact between the plaintiff and the “offending instrumentality”.


A lawyer may send to a particular client a statement regarding recent legislation or a suggestion based on a recent decision clearly in the interest or the client, but he may not send to clients generally a notice which is capable of interpretation as a bid for employment.If the attorney has a client whose rights he has reason to believe are affected by the principle enunciated in the opinion, he could, with propriety, advise the client or the opinion, but to broadcast it generally to all or his clients would smack of solicitation and be improper.

Code = Code of Professional Responsibility of New York State Bar Association
EC = Ethical Considerations of Code
DR = Disciplinary Rules of Code
Canon = Canons of Code
Former Canon = Old Canons of Professional Ethics of New York State Bar Association

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