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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 108

Adopted May 22, 1936

Inquiry:

"The managing editor of ............, a monthly magazine publishing in ..........., has asked me to write an article on the subject of 'Wills' for the May 1936 issue. The principal circulation of this publication is among banks and insurance companies. The article, of course, would be published without charge.

Before complying with the request, I would like an opinion as to whether or not it would be in conflict with legal ethics for me to prepare such an article for publication; also, would it be proper for me to permit my name to appear as author of the article, with a reference to my being a member of the Bar? If it would be improper for any reference to be made to my being a member of the Bar, would it be permissible for the article to be published with my name appearing as the author, without any reference to my being a member of the Bar?"

In response:

Rule 42 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides:

"A lawyer may with propriety write articles for publication in which he gives information upon the law; but he should not accept employment from such publications to advise inquirers in respect to their individual rights."

It, therefore, is not improper for a member of the bar to prepare the proposed article for publication, with a reference to the fact that the author is a member of the bar.

Note to Opinion 108. For other opinions relating to legal writing and radio addresses, see Opinions 12 and 45. For pretended legal publications by lay agencies see Opinions 19 and 20.