NYSBA Ethics Opinion 13

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #13 – 08/04/1965 (2-65)

Topic: Advertising. Announcement of Specialization and Office Change
Digest: Lawyer may announce intent to specialize in patent law, and announcement may refer to a particular public office from which lawyer is returning to private practice, but it is improper to mention prior private offices
Canon: Former Canon 27

QUESTION

A lawyer presently holds the position of patent consultant to a patent holding company, having previously been its general patent counsel, director and executive vice-president.  He plans to open his own office, specializing in the field of patents and to send out an announcement in which he would refer to his former positions with the patent holding company and to his former association with a well known patent law firm.  Would such an announcement be professionally improper?

OPINION

In the opinion of this Committee the proposed announcement would not be proper, Under Canon 27 the inquirer may include in an announcement, sent to non­ lawyers with whom he has personal relations and to other lawyers, a statement of his intention to specialize in patent law. (Joint Opinion No. 375 of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York and of the New York County Lawyers 1 Association, No, 375.)  An announcement may refer to a particular public office from which the lawyer is returning to private practice but it may not refer to prior private offices or relationships.  (Same Joint Opinion and Opinions Nos, 681 and 740 of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York.)

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