October 28, 1971
Advertising Alumni Booklet
A university publishes an alumni booklet containing current
news of graduates located alphabetically, including information
"ranging from marriage to occupation and places of work." It is
mailed only to graduates of the university and is not made
available to the general public. An attorney-at-law who is a
graduate of the university inquires if he may ethically list the
following information in the booklet:
(a) That I have graduated from (name) School of Law in January of 1971.
(b) That I have passed the February New Jersey Bar Examination and/or
(c) That I am opening a law office for the general
practice of law at (stated address).
Former Canon 27 of the Canons of Professional Ethics provided
that "Publication in reputable law lists in a manner consistent
with the standards of conduct imposed by these Canons of brief
biographical and informative data is permissible." The Disciplinary
Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 2-102(A)(6)
provide that "A listing in a reputable law list or legal directory
giving brief biographical and other informative data" may be used.
A university alumni booklet is not an approved law list. Thus, in
our opinion, it would be improper for the inquirer to place any of
the information listed above in the booklet. See N.J. Advisory
Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 30, 87 N.J.L.J. 106
Although the Canons of Professional Ethics are silent concerning the listing of the name, address and occupation of a lawyer in any roster except an approved law list, the American Bar
Association, Committee on Professional Ethics and other committees on professional ethics of several state bar associations have approved the dignified identification of a lawyer, as a lawyer, in directories of law schools, fraternities, bar associations, etc., subject to specified conditions. In 1953 a consensus of the views expressed by these various committees was summarized in Drinker, Legal Ethics 268 (1953) in the following language:
Law schools, fraternities, service clubs, and bar associations may publish rosters, registers, catalogs, or lists of their members, with their names, addresses, and occupations, which are not law lists, where no charge is made for listing and there is no suggestion that the names of lawyers are listed as probably available for professional employment, or to promote, solicit, or secure professional employment.
We are of the opinion that the inquirer may list only his name, address and profession in the university alumni booklet provided there is no charge made for the listing, the booklet is published solely for the use of the alumni, his listing is the same as all other lawyers therein, without distinctive type or special designation of any kind, and there is no suggestion that the names are listed for the purpose of soliciting professional employment.