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118 N.J.L.J. 592
October 30, 1986
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Appointed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey
Sponsorship of Sports Teams
We are asked as to the propriety of the use of a law firm name
on the shirts of players and coaches of a team that is part of a
childrens' community recreation association where the firm pays a
sponsor's fee to help with the cost of that activity."COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION"
The shirts first show the initials of the municipal activity,
then a soccer ball, and below the ball, the name of the law firm -
NAME OF LAW FIRM
The profession is omitted, there is no address. The recreation
activity is limited to a local area. Recognition of the sponsor as
a law firm depends not upon the device but upon the general repute
of that firm as a law office in that locality.
The use of a firm name to aid an athletic activity is an
established method of advertising whether of marketable goods or of
services for hire.
A relationship between the activity utilized to circulate the
information and the particular qualities or skill offered by the
advertiser is not contemplated.
The proposal does not plan speech or materials urging viewers
to visit the law office so named. Thus, this practice appears to be
limited to engendering good will in a local community by
associating its members with the support of a community youth
Under RPC 7.2(a) advertising may be used by lawyers provided
the materials are presented "... in a dignified manner without the
use of drawings, animations, dramatization, music, or lyrics".
Since advertising must meet the standard of RPC 7.2(a), use of
the above method and the activities associated with it should
endeavor to be carried on as discreetly as may be reasonably
appropriate in recreational activities.
The above rule refers to the use of public media including
radio or television. While our rule does not specify the shirt logo
method, we hold that the proposal of the inquirer sufficiently
conforms to the requirements of RPC 7.2; it is, therefore,
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