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                                             96 N.J.L.J. 751
                                            June 21, 1973


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Published Articles
Including Biographical Sketch

    This inquiry concerns the guidelines and limitations of the lawyer's biographical sketch included with articles prepared by him and published in a professional journal for real estate brokers. The proposed information is as follows:


    Mr. Doe received his B.A. degree from . . College in 1964, majoring in economics, and was graduated with honors from the . . School of Law in 1969, his area of concentrated study being real property. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court in 1969 and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the County Bar Association. Mr. Doe practices in New Jersey, and serves as solicitor for the zoning board of adjustment, the County Industrial Commission, Inc., and the County Chamber of Commerce."
    Disciplinary Rule DR 2-101 "Publicity in General," provides:
    (A)    A lawyer shall not prepare, cause to be prepared, use, or participate in the use of, any form of public communication that contains professionally self-laudatory statements calculated to attract lay clients; as used herein, "Public Communication" includes, but is not limited to, communication by means of television, radio, motion picture, newspaper, magazine, or book.
    (B)    A lawyer shall not publicize himself, ... as a lawyer through newspaper or magazine advertisements, radio or television announcements, display advertisements in city or telephone directories, or other means of commercial publicity, . . . This does not prohibit limited and dignified identification of a lawyer as a lawyer as well as by name:

    (5)    In and on legal textbooks, treatises, and other legal publications, and in dignified advertisements thereof.

    Is the inquirer's biographical sketch a form of public communication that contains professionally self-laudatory statements calculated to attract lay clients and not calculated to
publicize himself as a lawyer?
    It is not improper for an attorney, upon request, to write an article on a legal subject for publication, nor upon request, to send a picture to be published with such an article A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics and Grievances Opinion 141 (1935).
    An attorney may not furnish material for a newspaper article on his activities as an attorney, nor may he agree to the publication of such an article ABE Comm. on Professional Ethics, Informal Opinion 552 (1962).
    While an attorney may issue news release intended only to further his candidacy for a political office, he may not release news items of his professional, political, civic, or social activities desired, directly or indirectly, to further his professional interests as an attorney. The test in each case is the attorney's motive and such can be edged generally only by the subject matter of the releases, their tone, and the general reputation of the attorney. A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics, Informal Opinion 546 (1962).     There is no justification for the participation and acquiescence by an attorney in the development and publication of an article which on its face, plainly amounts to a self-interest and unethical presentation of his achievements and capabilities. Matter of Connelly, 18 App. Div. 2d 466. 478, 240 N.Y.S. 2d 126, 138 (l963). No biographical sketch can have as its purpose or object, that of aiding the 1awyer in securing professional employment in private practice by advertising his professional experience, attainments and ability. A.B.A. Comm on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Opinion 184 (1938).
    The question always is - whether under the circumstances the furtherance of the professional employment of a lawyer is the primary purpose of the advertisement, or is merely a necessary incident of a proper and legitimate objective which does not have the effect of unduly advertising him. A.B.A. Comm on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Opinion 290 (1956). So far as a lawyer can control his publisher, lawyer-author should permit the advertisement of the book, but not the advertisement of the lawyer A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Informal Opinion 51.
        A lawyer's name may be shown and fact that he is a lawyer of a particular state.

        Publisher may extol lawyer's virtues as an author, but not advertise the details of the lawyer's practice, may show his practice in the field of law on which he has written but not honors received, laudatory statements, membership in bar associations and in fact any biographical data not bearing directly on his knowledge, experience, and ability in the field of law written about See Wise, Legal Ethics 32-33 (1966).


    The use of the degree J.D. is not recommended or approved in New Jersey, nor is any of the other material suggested, except the author's name and the fact that he is a New Jersey lawyer The other material is not calculated to sell the articles, but to sell the author, and therefore lacks the dignity which is prescribed for lawyers and is self-laudatory and prohibited.

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