NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONProfessional
Ethics Committee Opinion
Opinion # 1 -_11/06/1964
Topic: Advice by Lawyer to Secure Legal Services. Notice to Clients
of Change in Law.
Digest: Particularly affected clients may be notified of a change in
the law, but a general notice to all clients is improper.
An attorney calls attention to the decision of Mr. Justice Sullivan
in Haight vs. McEwen, 43 Misc. 582, in which it was held that a cause of
action is stated by a complaint which alleges that the plaintiff
suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of watching the defendant so
negligently operate his automobile as to strike and kill her son even
though there was no physical contact between her and the defendant's
The attorney inquires whether, in view of this new development in the
law, he may not apprise his regular clients of the fact that it is no
longer necessary in negligence cases in this state to have actual
contact between the plaintiff and the "offending instrumentality".
A lawyer may send to a particular client a statement regarding recent
legislation or a suggestion based on a recent decision clearly in the
interest or the client, but he may not send to clients generally a
notice which is capable of interpretation as a bid for employment.
If the attorney has a client whose rights he has reason to believe
are affected by the principle enunciated in the opinion, he could, with
propriety, advise the client or the opinion, but to broadcast it
generally to all or his clients would smack of solicitation and be
Code = Code of Professional Responsibility of New York State Bar
EC = Ethical Considerations of Code
DR = Disciplinary Rules of Code
Canon = Canons of Code
Former Canon = Old Canons of Professional Ethics of New York State