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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 155

Adopted November 29, 1951

QUERY

Is it a breach of professional ethics for lawyers to run in a newspaper, cards which read:

1. "John Doe of Roe. Roe & Doe, Attorneys-at-Law, Blank, Okla.

Will be in Blank every Saturday afternoon from noon to 5 P.M., with offices in the B. Building."

and

2. "Richard Roe

Attorney-at-Law

General Practice

First Floor Grand Hotel

Phone 22220 Blank, Okla."

ANSWER

Such a card appearing in a newspaper or other similar publication, if paid for by the lawyer, in whole or in part, either directly or indirectly, becomes a solicitation of business by advertising which offends the traditions and lowers the tone of our profession, and therefore is condemned as violative of the Canons of Professional Ethics.

One of the self-imposed prohibitions which distinguishes the professional from a business, is that the members of the profession do not advertise for or otherwise solicit professional employment.

By the insertion of the card in a paper the attention of the public is drawn in an unusual manner to the profession of the named attorney. Obviously the only reason for putting such a card in a paper is to induce prospective clients to give him employment as their attorney. See opinions Nos. 69_11_24_123_182_ 203_251_260 and 276, American Bar Association.

Attorneys who have engaged in such conduct have been disciplined. Barton v. State Bar of California, 209 Cal. 677, 289 P. 818.