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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 193

Adopted February 10, 1958

The Central Committee of the Oklahoma Bar Association has submitted to its Legal Ethics Committee the following inquiry:

INQUIRY

A member of the bar recently admitted to practice has been approached by a newspaper reporter with a request that the reporter be allowed to do a feature story for his paper concerning the problems faced by the lawyer in acquiring his legal education subsequent to his separation from military service and during a period in which he was married, had a family to support and held a responsible daytime job, all while attending night law school. It is the announced intention of the reporter to, in this manner, reveal the trials and tribulations of the typical night law school student and inform the public at large of the long hours of preparation and study necessary to become an attorney. The article will also include the problems faced by an attorney immediately after his admission to practice. The attorney will receive no consideration, and the article was not solicited but wholly the idea of the newspaper reporter.

OPINION

It is the opinion of the Committee that the attorney so solicited may, with propriety, answer questions and volunteer personal data in connection with the preparation of such an article, so long as he insists that the article be dignified and in good taste and, further, be written in such a tone as not to imply to the public that it is intended to constitute advertisement for professional employment. Further, he should see to it, as far as possible, that the article as published carries out his instructions. He should insist upon reviewing such an article in advance of publication and not only should correct inaccuracies but should insist upon the elimination of material not in good taste. It would be his duty to discourage the publication of such an article if he knew in advance that it was sensational or undignified or might be construed as advertising. The test is as stated by Mr. Drinker in his text on legal ethics:

"In its ultimate analysis, the question, like many of those involving legal ethics, is one of good faith and good taste."