NYSBA Ethics Opinion 62

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #62 – 10/16/1967 (17-67)

Topic: Advertising, Lawyers’ Directory
Digest: Lawyer member may not list specialties in a lawyer association membership directory
Canon: Former Canon 27, 43, 46

QUESTION

An association of lawyers of Italian descent in a particular locality proposes to publish a directory listing the names and addresses of all members of the association together with the specialty of each member where applicable. The directory will be distributed to members of the association only. The association asks whether this practice would be proper from an ethical standpoint.

OPINION

It is the opinion of the Committee that the proposed publication and distribution would be proper only if it omitted reference to the specialties of the members.Canons 27, 43 and 46 are involved.   Canon 27 relating to advertising and solicitation permits inclusion of a lawyers name, address, biography and “branches of his profession practiced” in “reputable law lists.”  The American Bar Association certifies associations which its Special Committee on Law Lists believes to be “reputable.”  The membership directory of the association in question is not a law list.  Canon 46 provides that where a lawyer is engaged in rendering a specialized legal service directly and only to other lawyers, “a brief, dignified notice of that fact, couched in language indicating that it is addressed to lawyers, inserted in legal periodicals and like publications, when it will afford convenient and beneficial information to lawyers desiring to obtain such service, is not improper.”  The membership directory in this case is not a legal periodical or like publication.

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