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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 157

Adopted October 8, 1952

Joe Doakes LAW OFFICES Richard Roe

Ex Judge of ROE & DOAKES Ex U. S.

Superior Court 214 Blank Bldg. Commssioner [sic]

Blank, Oklahoma

QUERY

Can a firm of lawyers ethically use the above letterhead?

ANSWER

A letterhead which calls attention to the fact that its members are ex public office holders violates Canon 27 which reads in part:

"It is unprofessional to solicit professional employment by circulars, advertisements, through touters, or by personal communications or interviews not warranted by personal relations. Indirect advertisements for professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation, offend the traditions and lower the tone of our profession and are reprehensible; but the customary use of simple professional cards is not improper."

Such designation is self-laudation calling attention to self importance which is indirect advertising and therefore offends the traditions of our profession. The apparent reason for placing such designation on the letterhead is to attract attention in an unusual manner and induce prospective clients to give them employment.