NUMBER 404 JANUARY 1952
Question. Before entering the practice of law, I was employed by the Temporary State Housing Rent Commission for the period from May 1, 1950 to April, 1951, in the capacity of Chief of the Compliance Unit, Brooklyn Rent Office. Prior thereto, I had occupied a similar position with the United States Office of the Housing Expediter.
In these capacities, it was my duty to enforce the regulations and laws with respect to residential accommodations. Pursuant to the authority vested in me, I negotiated informal settlements with violators, prepared and referred cases for litigation to the respective prosecuting attorneys, recommended such other administrative sanctions and actions as was warranted by the facts of the particular case, and supervised investigations an d the collections of evidence. In addition thereto, I was often called upon to interpret the pertinent regulations and statutes.
I thereby acquired an extensive and very thorough knowledge of the administrative practice under the Federal and New York State Residential Rent Laws.
Ever since the time I entered the private practice of law, after resigning from my position with the Temporary State Housing Rent Commission, I have specialized in matters dealing with residential rents. I have been engaged by numerous attorneys who sought my services in behalf of their clients. My own practice also includes lay persons who required this specialized service.
I am wondering whether it would be ethical, in view of Canon 46 of the Canons of Professional Ethics, to run the following advertisement in successive issues of the New York Law Journal under the caption “Special Services for Lawyers”:
Attorney, Specializing Rent Control Matters and Appeals. Formerly, Chief Enforcement Officer, Rent Commission, Brooklyn Office. John Doe [address, telephone number]
Answer. In the opinion of this Committee the publication of the proposed advertisement in successive issues of the New York Law Journal under the caption “Special Services for Lawyers” is not professionally improper. As the New York Law Journal is a legal publication and the advertisement is under a caption which indicates that it is exclusively addressed to lawyers for whom it will afford convenient and beneficial information, it comes within a reasonable interpretation of Canon 46 which reads as follows;
Where a lawyer is engaged in rendering a specialized legal service directly and only to other lawyers, a brief, dignified notice of that fact, couched in language indicating that it is addressed to lawyers, inserted in legal periodicals and like publications, when it will afford convenient and beneficial information to lawyers desiring to obtain such service, is not improper.
The Committee considers rent control matters and appeals a specialty recognized in this community under Canon 46. This opinion is consistent with this Committee’s answer in Opinion 373 and in accordance with the joint opinion of the Committee on Professional Ethics of The Association of the Bar and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, expressed in their answer in Opinion 375.
The Committee is further of the opinion that publication in successive issues of the Law Journal is no more objectionable than a single publication.