Opinion Number 571
This office is desirous of obtaining the opinion of your committee on Professional Ethics as to the propriety, in light of Canon 27, of having our firm name appear in various yearbooks and similar publications. As you are undoubtedly aware, law firms are continually requested to obtain ads in yearbooks and journals published in connection with dinners at which clients and business associates are the honorees. In the past, our practice has been to comply with these requests in the name of the individual partner who services the client. We would like to discontinue this practice in favor of ulilizing the firm name without in any wise indicating any professional status (i.e. only the name of the firm — no attorneys-at-law, Esqs., etc.).
The Committee on Profesional Ethics of the Association of the Bar has held that it is not improper (as contravening Canon 27, advertising Direct or Indirect) for a lawyer to insert in a journal, published by an association of which a client is a member, an advertisement reading “Compliments of X” provided no reference was made to the fact that X was a lawyer (op,503, April 19, 1939, Opinions of the Committees . . . . . . , Columbia, pages 275, 276). In its opinion number 532, of February 7, 1940 (page 296, Opinions) the same committee, while deeming permissible for an advertisement in a banquet journal of a trade union containing merely the words “Compliments of John Doe”, expressed the view that such a practice should be discouraged. It would seem that in the instant case, where it is proposed to use a firm name, there is at least a suggestion that the advertiser is a law firm and that the practice must be disapproved.
May 28, 1969