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Since its inception, NYCLA has been at the forefront of most legal debates in the country. We have provided legal education for more than 40 years.
Is it proper for a legal aid society to use bold type in listing its name in a classified telephone directory (yellow pages) under the classification of lawyers?
May the Juvenile Rights Division of a legal aid society list its services as “JUVENILE MATTERS ONLY” in bold type?
A telephone directory listing in bold type is obviously an attempt to attract special attention by being different from other listings. As stated in ABA 284 (1951) it evidences “a studied purpose to single oneself for special notice over and above his fellow lawyers.” Such publicizing of himself by a lawyer would be violative of DR 2-101(B), and contrary to the express mandate of DR 2-102(A)(5), that “The listing shall not be in distinctive form or type.” However, the prohibition should not be extended to a legal aid society, which is a philanthropic agency rendering legal services in the public welfare on a non-profit basis. The listing in bold type draws public attention to the society, not to individual lawyers. The society is not in competition with the lawyers whose names are printed in conventional type, and hence the reasons underlying the ban are inapplicable. See EC 2-9. Furthermore, the profession has a duty to assist in making legal services fully available to those who need them. EC 2-1, EC 2-15. A legal aid society, in rendering services to those who cannot afford to pay for them in effect acts as a surrogate for all lawyers with respect to that duty. Making it easier for the public to find the society in the listings merely helps insure that the duty will be discharged.
Similarly, the bold-face listing the Juvenile Rights Division of a legal aid soceity, to identify <Text not Clear> services as available in “juvenile matters only” and to <Text not Clear> those services from the general services rendered by the soceity, would not violate the ethical prohibitions applicable to the profession.
January 30, 1975.