OPINION 420
December 1984

Question Presented

Do the requirements of the Texas Code of Professional Responsibility that govern written solicitation communications apply to the mailing to named addressees of copies of an attorney's printed brochure concerning his legal services?

Discussion

Texas Professional Ethics Committee Opinions 413 and 414 discuss limitations required by the Texas Code of Professional Responsibility with respect to direct-mail solicitation by lawyers. Opinion 414 holds in part that "[a] mass mailing by a lawyer of advertisements or nonpersonalized letters constitutes a form of advertising by means of the public media and is permissible subject to the restrictions set forth in DR 2-101 that are generally applicable to advertising by lawyers."

In the opinion of the Committee, a printed brochure that is obviously prepared for distribution to a large number of recipients does not become a solicitation communication subject to the stricter rules applicable to solicitation communications merely because the brochure is mailed to named addressees. Such personalization in the mailing of an obviously impersonal communication does not involve the problems that may arise in the case of written solicitation communications that are subject to the requirements of Disciplinary Rule ("DR") 2-103(D). The fundamental factor that distinguishes an advertisement from a written solicitation communication subject to DR 2-103(D) is that an average person in the group receiving an advertisement would readily perceive that the communication was not addressed to such person personally but was instead mass produced for distribution to many persons.

Conclusion

Printed brochures that are obviously mass produced and not individualized communications directed to specific recipients and that are mailed to named individual recipients are permissible under the Texas Code of Professional Responsibility subject to compliance with the requirements set forth in DR 2-101 that are generally applicable to advertising by lawyers. Such advertisements are not subject to the requirements of DR 2-103(D) that are applicable to written solicitation communications. (8-0).