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                                             88 N.J.L.J. 367
                                            June 3, 1965


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court

Christmas Lights Program
Contribution - List

    The following inquiries have been presented a member of the bar:

            1. Is it proper for an attorney to contribute money to a local Chamber of Commerce program, the purpose of which is to raise funds for the rental of Christmas lights for the main street of the municipality?

            2. If the answer to the foregoing inquiry is in the affirmative, is it proper for the attorney to permit his name and pledge to be published in the local newspaper?

    If all that was before us were these two inquiries, an affirmative answer could be given readily.
    We see no impropriety in an attorney, as a member of the community, making a contribution to a civic enterprise such as described in these inquiries provided that his name alone is used without any indication of his profession. Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 27 would not be applicable in that case.
    However, enclosed with the letter of inquiry were copies of letters of solicitation from the "Mayor's Lighting Committee" containing the following statements:
    We must keep the good will of our people," "We want the general public to shop in our establishments," "We want their respect and support," "If we want to get - we must give, "This will be our way ... of showing our townspeople and customers our appreciation for their continuous support throughout the year. Without their year-long support our motto 'Shop [here] first' would be completely meaningless.

    These purposes of the "Christmas Street Lighting Program" clearly indicate the commercial advertising objective of the contribution and the use of names with or without further designation. Under these circumstances, Canon 27 proscribing advertising, direct or indirect, would be applicable. The use of the lawyer's name in this connection would violate the canon. See Drinker, Legal Ethics 247-8 (l953); Philadelphia Bar Association, Committee on Professional Grievance, Opinion 59-3 (1959).

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