NEW YORK STAT'E BAR ASSOCIATIONProfessional
Ethics Committee Opinion
Opinion #36 - 11/30/1966
Topic: Advertising, Announcement of Tax Specialization
Digest: Lawyers may send announcement of tax specialization to other
S. is a New York attorney who has become increasingly active in tax
matters. Although not a certified public accountant, he has an
accountancy background which is useful to him in the tax field.
W. is a member of the Florida Bar, has no present practice, is a
resident of New York who has passed the New York Bar examination and is
waiting admission to the New York Bar. He is presently employed on
a full-time basis as a tax attorney for a large corporation located in
New York. Until quite recently he was one of the regional counsel
with the Treasury Department handling tax matters and prior to that was
a special agent for the Treasury Department.
S. proposes to form a partnership with W., after his admission to the
Bar in New York, for the sole purpose of practicing tax law. The
net profits from the tax practice will be shared equally by the two
lawyers. Any non-tax worked handled by S. will be continued to be
handled by him on an individual basis and not by the partnership, and
should general matters be brought in by W. in the future, he will either
handle them himself or refer them to S.'s office on a non-partnership
basis. At the outset, no letterhead for the firm is proposed and S. will
continue to pay the rent and other office expenses, although later there
may be some allocation of expenses between the two individuals.
The corporation with which W. is associate will know of the proposed
association, which will not infringe on his full-time position with the
corporation as W. will work for the partnership only in the evening and
After the admission of W. to the New York Bar, S. proposes to send
out announcements to members of the Bar only, worded substantially as
W.(formerly regional counsel with the U.S.
members of the New York Bar, announce their association specializing in
tax practice atThe ___
BuildingSuite 1622New York, N.
Under the circumstances, the proposed form of notice is proper
provided it is sent to lawyers only.
It is not improper for an attorney returning to private practice from
a government position, to state in his professional announcement the
particular public office from which he is returning. "Such a statement
should not go beyond naming the department or agency of the Government
with which the attorney served and the title of the position which he
held therein. The terms of the announcement and its physical setup
should be such as to avoid any implication that the attorney is seeking
to announce that he is specially qualified to handle matters dealt with
by such agency or department or in which he gained experience while
holding public office. (Joint Opinion No. 375 of New York County
Lawyers' Association and The Association of the Bar of the City of New
A notice which states or implies a particular field of
specialization, other than patents, trademark and admiralty law, is not
permitted to be sent to laymen because it constitutes improper
advertising or solicitation. Since the partnership in this case
will not, as such, engage in practice in any other field it would be
improper not to mention the field of specialization, because to omit it
would cause the announcement to imply that the lawyers are partners for
other fields as well. This would be a misrepresentation. See
Opinion No. 15 of this Association, published in the New York State Bar
Journal of August, 1966, page 381.