Opinion Number 466
A client of mine operates a discount merchandise business in Kings and Nassau counties.
In conjunction with its businesses it has established a weekly newspaper to be sent free to its mailing list of about sixty-thousand individuals.
The paper carries advertising matter as well as news items of a local and general nature.
Client desires that I write a weekly column for the paper on some general interesting law decisions similar to the articles now being written by Mr. Fribourg, in the New York Sun.
Client desires to carry my name, address and photograph in conjunction with such column.
Would it be proper and ethical for my name, address and photograph to appear in conjunction with such column?
Canon 29 in part provides that a member of the Bar “should strive at all times to uphold the honor and to maintain the dignity of the profession . . . . . .”
We believe it would lower the dignity of the profession and therefore be improper for an attorney to write articles for a publication having as its primary purpose or function the sale of merchandise – not the dissemination of news or general information.
In our opinion such a publication would not be a newspaper contemplated by Canon 40 which provides in part as follows: “40, Newspapers. A lawyer may with propriety write articles for publications in which he gives information upon the law; . . . . .”
In any case, any such articles should not, in any way intend or tend to advertise the author. In the opinion of the Committee, the articles should not identify the author other than by name and as a member of the New York Bar – (Canon 27; Opinion Number 396 of this Committee; Number 324 Association of the Bar of the City of New York).
See also Opinion Numbers 184, 270, 352 and 535 of the Association of the Bar.
Dated: April 9, 1958.