92 N.J.L.J. 721
November 6, 1969
Professional Card Language Ability
The inquirer states that he is a newly admitted attorney
and anticipates representing Spanish-speaking clients, most of whom
do not read, write or speak the English language. The inquiry
relates to his professional card and he asks whether he may have
printed on it "Specializing in Spanish-speaking Clientele" or, in
lieu thereof, "Spanish spoken here."
Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 27 governs this inquiry. It permits a lawyer to have a dignified professional card containing his name, name of his law firm, profession, address and telephone number.
In Assn. of the Bar, City of N.Y., Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 636 (1940), the question involved a New York lawyer who had recently been appointed Commissioner of Deeds for Puerto Rico for the State of New York. He desired to acquaint the public with that fact by publication in a Spanish-language newspaper circulated in New York City. The Committee held that it would be a violation of Canon 27 and stated:
Such adverting would constitute a mere routing of business to a law office. While a Commissioner not a lawyer would be free to so advertise, when both offices are combined in one person the professional obligations circumscribe the scope of advertising at least to prevent a subtle commercialization of one position as a feeder to bring professional business to the other.