NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONProfessional
Ethics Committee Opinion
Opinion #169 - 11/06/1970
Topic: Directories; Advertising
Digest: Proposed publication and distribution would be proper if
certified by the American Bar Association and specialties are
Code: EC 2-9, EC 2-10, EC 2-14; DR 2-101(A); DR 2-102(A) (6), DR
2-103(A), DR 2-105
May a roster of members of an organization composed of judges and
court personnel, all of whom are attorneys, which will be distributed
only to members of such an organization for their sole use, indicate the
specializations of each member?
It is the opinion of the Committee that the proposed publication and
distribution would be proper only if it omitted reference to the
specialties of the members.
"Reputable law lists" may include the lawyer's name, address,
biography and "branches of his profession practiced". The American Bar
Association certified law lists which its Special Committee on Law Lists
believes to be "reputable". The membership directory of the association
in question is not a law list.
DR 2-105 (A)(2) allows for publication of brief dignified notice of
the fields of law in which an attorney will accept referrals.
New York State has no provision for certification of a lawyer as a
specialist in a particular field of law as provided for in DR 2-105(A)
(4). EC 2-14 of the Code provides as follows:
"In some instances a lawyer confines his practice to a particular
field of law. In the absence of state controls to insure the existence
of special competence, a lawyer should not be permitted to hold himself
out as a specialist or as having special training or ability, other than
in the historically excepted fields of admiralty, trademark, and patent
The membership directory in this case is not a legal periodical m: a
publication which may list areas of referrals.