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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 35

Adopted July 22, 1932

The Board of Governors is in receipt of the following communication:

"I am enclosing a clipping from a ........... paper published during the past week upon which I would appreciate an opinion.

I would like to know whether such an advertisement as the enclosed, or a mere notice of change of address, etc., in the city news item of our local papers is per se unethical. If considered so by the Association, would you go further and hold it ground for disbarment?

The clipping referred to is as follows:

........................

(Name of attorney)

Attorney

....................

(Name of city)

General Practice--Fair Treatment

Phone 3...."

In answer to the inquiry:

Rule 29 of the State Bar Rules of Professional Ethics provides that the solicitation of business by advertisement is unprofessional. The clipping can not be considered otherwise than the solicitation of business by advertisement. The use of the term "Fair Treatment" clearly distinguishes this advertisement from the usual professional card. Such advertisement constitutes a breach of the rule referred to and may be punished by suspension from the practice for a period not to exceed one year.

The publication of a mere notice of removal would not constitute solicitation of business.