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96 N.J.L.J. 1332
November 15, 1973
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Bar Association Law List
A county bar association wishes to publish annually a list of
the names, addresses and office telephone numbers and the home
addresses and telephone numbers of all members of the association
who are currently active members in good standing. While the
proposed list would contain no advertisement, it would contain on
the back cover a statement that the cost of printing had been
defrayed through a reputable bailiwick and/or title company. The
publication would be distributed to all members of the association,
all banks and title companies doing business in the county and such
other persons as might request the same. There would be no charge
for the distribution of the list.
We are asked for our opinion as to whether publication and
distribution of such a list would conform to ethical standards.
Former Canons 27 and 43 of the Canons of Professional Ethics
prescribe the limitations on the publication of law lists and the
participation of an attorney in such lists. DR 2-102(A) carries
these canons forward into the Code of Professional Responsibility
and (A)(6) deals specifically with law lists in language not unlike
that of former Canon 27.
The subject of advertisement by bar associations within the
purview of Canon 27 has been considered by the American Bar
Association Ethics Committee. Specifically N.J. Advisory Committee
on Professional Ethics, Opinion 179, 93 N.J.L.J. 469 (1970), gives
approval to such advertisement as a means of education of the lay
public and sets forth certain standards which should be met. While
the standards proposed in that opinion were related to advertising
in the form of a radio broadcast, nevertheless they can be related
to the proposal of this bar association which is more in the nature
of a law list.
The four standards in somewhat shorter form are as follows:
1. The advertisement should be carried on by the organized
2. Its purpose is to give laymen beneficial information.
3. It must be motivated by a desire to benefit the lay
public and carried out in such a way as to avoid the
impression that it is actuated by selfish desire to
increase professional employment.
4. It must be in keeping with the dignity and traditions of
Viewed within the framework of these standards, we consider
the proposed law list to be a proper and ethical undertaking of the
bar association. It is a program of the organized bar which in
dignified form should provide useful information for various laymen
and lay organizations by making easily available a list of all
lawyers in the county. There is no advertising as, such any more
than there is in the usual list to be found in the yellow pages of
the telephone book (see DR 2-102) and while professional employment
may result from the distribution of the list, it cannot be said
that the list is selfishly designed to promote professional
employment rather than to provide the public with a ready reference
list of all lawyers should the need for legal assistance arise.
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