87 N.J.L.J. 449
July 16, 1964
Chamber of Commerce Booklet
Is it ethically proper for an attorney to be a member of a
Chamber of Commerce? May he permit his name to be listed in a
booklet sponsored by the organization?
The attorney who submitted the second question provided a copy of a Chamber of Commerce announcement or invitation to list in the
booklet or publication which makes it clear that it was a source of advertisement for the subscribers. For example, a part of the invitation read, "We are sure you will want to be listed ... since it will be very advantageous to all of us"; also, "Here's an opportunity for all of us to inform . of what is available ..." in the municipality.
Generally any type of advertising by a lawyer is prohibited. Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 27; N.J. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 21, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963). The ethics of the legal profession forbid an attorney to advertise his talents or his skill as a shopkeeper advertises his wares. People v. McCabe, 18 Colo. 186, 32 P. 280 (Sup. Ct. 1893).
Attorneys should not in any way be discouraged from participating in civic affairs, civic clubs, organizations or societies engaged in good faith in civic or community betterment or in philanthropic, educational or other public service. Accordingly, an attorney may properly be a member of a Chamber of Commerce.
However, such membership should always be maintained consistently with the ethics of the profession. Since it appears that the purpose of the booklet sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce referred to in the instant inquiry was in part, at least, for advertising purposes, there is little doubt that it would be improper for an attorney to permit his name to be listed in the booklet. N.J. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinions 10, 86 N.J.L.J. 719 (1963); 16, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963); 23, 87 N.J.L.J. 19 (1964); and 30, 87 N.J.L.J. 106 (1964), amply demonstrate the effect of Canon 27.