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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 204

Adopted August 11, 1960

The Executive Council has submitted to the Legal Ethics Committee the following inquiry:

INQUIRY

The professional card of a member of the bar reads as follows:

Judge John Doe

Attorney and Experienced Receiver

Address Telephone No.

Is the use of the title "Judge" and the reference to "Experienced Receiver" proper?

OPINION

We are of the opinion that the answer to both parts of the question is that such references are improper. A portion of Canon 27 reads as follows:

"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."

The Ethics Committee of the American Bar Association has held that the "professional card" referred to in Canon 27 means the visiting card carried by lawyers to introduce themselves (Opinion No. 251). This definition has been likewise adhered to in Opinions Nos. 105 and 124 of this Association.

The simple professional card permitted by the Canon may contain the lawyer's name, address, telephone number, the names of lawyer associates or the name of his firm and a simple designation of his profession. Any title, such as "Judge" or "Senator", or any reference to a specialty would obviously be included for advertising purposes and is therefore prohibited.