Link to original WordPerfect Document

                                         96 N.J.L.J. 1332
                                        November 15, 1973


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 bar.

    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 the profession.

    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.

* * *

This archive is a service of Rutgers University School of Law - Camden