I now hold the Certificate of Professional Accreditation of the Public Relations Society of America as well as being a member of the Bar and a member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, I am also a member of the International Public Relations Association, whose membership is mainly outside of the United States.
I have just removed by New York office from 160 Riverside Drive, New York City, to 300 West End Avenue, New York City.
Is it ethically proper for me in my announcement of removal of my law offices, a) to advise the membership of I.P.R.A. (less than 500) outside of the United States, and to insert in my announcement the language “Accredited Member, Public Relations Society of America; Member, International Public Relations Association” b) to advise the membership of I.P.R.A. outside of the United States and to insert in my announcement the language “Government Relations and Public Affairs Counsel, International, Federal and State Programs.” c) to advise members of the Bar whom I know and to insert in my announcement the language contained in “a” and “b” as set forth above.
It is permissible for an attorney to send a dignified and brief announcement of the removal of his law offices to lawyers, his clients, relatives, friends and other persons with whom he has such personal relationship as would make clear that they would be interested in knowing of his new location. See Canon 27; ABA 301, N.Y. State #83 (9-68), Drinker Legal Ethics, pages 232-233. It would not be proper to send the announcements to mere acquaintances or others where not “warranted by personal relations”, Thus, an attorney may not send an announcement to the 1800 members of his Church. ABA Inf, 107 (unpublished opinion, cited at page 78, American Bar Association “Opinions on Professional Ethics”).
Announcements sent only to lawyers may state that the lawyer is engaged in rendering a specialized legal service or in practicing a particular branch of the law and that his services are available to other lawyers, Canon 46, N.Y. County 375 (Joint Opinion with N.Y. City 686); N.Y. State No. 86 (13-68); ABA Inf. 876.
The proposed announcements do not, in our opinion, conform to the ethical standards imposed by the Canons above cited. The entire membership of the International Public Relations Society outside the United States does not bear such a personal relationship with the attorney, as to come within the purview of Canon 27, Recital of membership in the associations mentioned in the inquiry constitutes a form of self-laudation such as is disapproved in Canon 27. See ASA Inf. 1015, C-712 and 896. Furthermore, we think that the services impliedly to be performed cannot be classified as specialized legal services or a special branch of the law, and that such announcements would not be proper even if sent to other lawyers only.