90 N.J.L.J. 849
December 28, 1967
The following inquiry has been submitted:
I have been requested to write a by-line column for
a monthly newspaper entitled The Labor Herald. This
column will consist of discussions of the National Labor
Relations Act, and the decisions of the National Labor
Relations Board. The Labor Herald is distributed in New
Jersey and parts of New York. ...There will be no
remuneration paid for this column... .
This inquiry is governed by Canons of Professional Ethics,
A lawyer may with propriety write articles for
publications in which he gives information upon the law;
but he should not accept employment from such
publications to advise inquiries in respect to their
Canon 40 has been interpreted by the American Bar Association's Committee on Professional Ethics (quotations from A.B.A. Committee's annotations on the canon), in Formal Opinion 92 (1933):
An attorney may sell articles of a general nature on legal subjects to periodicals of general circulation.
Formal Opinion 162 (1936):
While an attorney may write articles on legal subjects for a trade magazine, he may not offer to answer readers' questions which are submitted to him.
A lawyer may write articles for publication in lay
papers explaining holdings and any dissenting opinions in
decisions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The
attorney's name may be given but no picture should be
used and his office address should not be given.
In the light of these opinions, it is the opinion of this Committee that the inquirer may ethically proceed as outlined in the inquiry.