NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONProfessional
Ethics Committee Opinion
Opinion #77 - 06/06/1968
Topic: Advertising. Notice of change of office location
Digest: Erection of public sign at site of proposed new office
Canon: Former Canon 27
An attorney who is required to move from his present office location
because of the widening of a street by the State asks whether it is
proper for him to erect a sign at the construction site of his new
office building. It will recite the firm name and state the office will
be relocated there due "to the New York State taking over the present
location at (address and zip code).
Canon 27 provides that it is "unprofessional to solicit professional
employment by …advertisements" direct or indirect.
Every indirect form of advertising designed to secure professional
employment is improper. (Drinker, Legal Ethics 232 and 247.) General
announcements of the removal of an office to a new location are
discouraged as an appeal to the public for employment. ABA 264 states
that announcements should be by card sent only to attorneys, clients and
close friends who would consider the news of genuine interest and value.
The cards should not go to persons with whom an attorney has no personal
dealings or relations, and to whom it would be a suggestion of
employment. ABA Inf. 146 is to the same effect.
ABA Inf. 142A and C447 hold that notice of removal of an office to
another building by any other method than the customary use of simple
professional cards is improper, that the cards should be sent only to
clients or other attorneys, and specifically condemns the use of
newspapers advertisements in any but a professional paper.
It is the opinion of the Committee that the proposed sign would be a
notice in the nature of an advertisement to the general public of the
present location of the attorney's office and the location of the new
office. It would not be directed to those with whom the firm has
existing personal or professional relationship. It would have the effect
of soliciting employment and violate Canon 27.