98 N.J.L.J. 462
May 22, 1975
of Out-of-State Practice
A New Jersey attorney has moved to Florida, joining a local
firm after being admitted to the Florida Bar. He desires to publish
an announcement in the New Jersey Law Journal of the fact that he
is no longer practicing in New Jersey, and has become a member of
the Florida Bar and has an office in Miami, Florida. The
announcement would be similar to the type commonly published in the
New Jersey Law Journal when an attorney opens an office, or changes
an address, in this State.
The inquirer still maintains membership in the New Jersey Bar, pays his annual fee to the Clients' Security Fund and considers himself to be an active member of the New Jersey Bar. Under R. 1:21-1, an attorney must be domiciled in New Jersey or have his principal office in New Jersey in order to practice in New Jersey. Would such an announcement be unethical or be considered as "advertising"?
DR 2-102(A)(2) of the New Jersey Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
(A) A lawyer or law firm shall not use professional cards, professional announcements cards, office signs, letterheads, telephone directory listings, law lists, legal directors listings, or similar professional notices, or devices, except that the following may be used if they are in dignified form:
(2) A brief professional announcement card stating new or changed associations or addresses, change of firm name, or similar matters pertaining to the professional office of a lawyer or law firm, which may be mailed to lawyers, clients, former clients, personal friends and relatives. It shall not state biographical data except to the extent reasonably necessary to identify the lawyer or to explain the change in his association, but it may state the immediate past position of the lawyer. It may give the names and dates of predecessor firms in a continuing line of succession. It shall not state the nature of the practice except as permitted under DR 2-105.
This Committee recently considered public announcements in Opinion 184, 93 N.J.L.J.497 (1970), Opinion 242, 95 N.J.L.J.973 (1972) and Opinion 283, 97 N.J.L.J.362 (I974), none of which deal directly with the problem presented.
Wise, Legal Ethics 155 (2d ed.) states:
An attorney practicing in one state may send an announcement of the opening of an office in another state if he is admitted in the second state, under the same restrictions, as those applying to the announcement of the opening of any office.
At page 164 it is stated that no announcement should be by publication in other than a legal journal.
Advertising by attorneys has been traditionally condemned However, proper announcements are permitted. Drinker, Legal Ethics 213 (1963) makes this interesting comment of report by Dr. Johnson on solicitation by lawyers:
Boswell reports Dr. Johnson as having said, relative to the solicitation by lawyers, that he would refrain from it, "not because I should think it wrong but because I should disdain it.... However, I would not have a lawyer be wanting to himself in using fair means. I would have him to insert a little hint now and then, to prevent his being overlooked.
We do not believe the suggested announcement constitutes "advertising" but is merely a formal announcement of the inquirer's
present address and that he ,s admitted to the Florida Bar.
It is our opinion that the announcement, limited to publication in the New Jersey Law Journal, does, not infringe on the Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility.