NUMBER 381 1948

Question. An attorney presently engaged in the practice of law requests an opinion for and on behalf of a former European lawyer, graduate of an American law school, said friend awaiting admission to the Bar, as follows:


A friend of mine, a former European lawyer, LL.B. of Brooklyn Law School, has the intension to become engaged in foreign law research exclusively for members of the Bar. He wants to apply for admission to the Bar immediately upon becoming a citizen of the United States. In order not to jeopardize such admission, he wishes to find out, before starting on the intended kind of work, whether there are any objections to such activity from the viewpoint of professional ethics and also to an appropriate announcement in the New York Law Journal and similar publications.


Is there any impropriety in such person participating in such work and advertising as outlined?

Answer. Section 3 of Article XXIII of the By-Laws of the New York County Lawyers’ Association provides that the Committee on Professional Ethics “shall have power, when consulted, to advise inquirers respecting questions of proper professional conduct, reporting its action to the Board of Directors from time to time,”

“Professional conduct” concerns members of the Bar only and since the subject inquiry pertains to a person not yet admitted to the Bar, this Committee is without power to express any opinion as to the propriety of the proposed action.


It may be observed that were this person a member of the Bar, the proposed advertising might be violative of the Canons of Ethics. It is not the policy of this Committee to advise with reference to a course of conduct which properly may be reviewed by the Character Committee prior to the person becoming a member of the Bar. As to whether the stated activity would constitute unlawful practice of the law, the Committee expresses no opinion.