94 N.J.L.J. 1013
November 4, 1971
Political Use of Letterhead
This Committee has received an inquiry concerning the use of
a law firm's letterhead in connection with political activity. The
letter involved was addressed to members of the police department
in a particular community and it contained information describing
certain benefits for them if a specific group of officeholders was
elected at a coming election.
On the letter there are five names as signers, only one of whom appears listed as a lawyer in the 1971 Lawyers' Diary and Manual, including Bar Directory of New Jersey, and as a partner in the firm on whose stationery the letter was written. At the outset it can be stated that it was very obvious to us that the letter in
question was ill-advised and improper. Here we are confronted with former Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 27. The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Professional Ethics in its Informal Opinion 972 (February 20, 1967) discussed this problem in
rather broad language. There it made a distinction where a letterhead listing only the names of lawyers endorsing a candidate for a specific office was involved and stated that such a letter might under the conditions stated be acceptable, but that the publication of letters of lawyers on their firm's stationery endorsing candidates would be improper and in violation of former
The bar's attention is directed to the New Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Supreme Court which took effect September 13, 1971, as to the use of lawyers' letterheads by lawyers.
In our opinion the letter in question is improper.