NYSBA Ethics Opinion 72

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #72 – 03/01/1968 (33-67)

Topic: Advertising, Directories
Digest: Distinctive listing in telephone directories improper
Canon: Former Canon 27

QUESTION

In listing an attorney in a telephone or other directory, may the listing be distinctive by the use of bold face type?

OPINION

When a lawyers name is published in a directory in a type of a size or style distinctive from that in which the names of other subscribers are listed, it becomes a form of advertising and falls within the purview of Canon 27.  A lawyer’s conduct in causing it to be published in such manner must be condemned.ABA Opinion 284 stated that the use of bold face type in a classified listing composed solely of other lawyers indicated a studied purpose to single oneself for special notice over and above his fellow lawyers. (Accord ABA Opinions 53 and 123.)
Recently, ABA Informal Opinion 487 condemned “the listing of a lawyer’s name in a distinctive type in a telephone or city directory in the regular or classified sections. Such a distinctive means of self-classification is improper advertising and offends Canon 27.”

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