OPINION 95
February 1954

SOLICITATION - ADVERTISEMENT - NEWSPAPERS - A county bar association should not volunteer legal information in paid advertisements which may be construed as a bid for professional employment.

STIRRING UP LITIGATION - Advertisements which may seemingly have as their purpose the encouraging of litigation should not be sponsored by a bar association.

Canons 2425.

NOTE:  The Committee no longer issues opinions concerning the activities of Bar Associations, but limits its decisions to the acts of individual lawyers.  Inquiries about the propriety of particular association activities should be addressed to the State Bar Board of Directors.

Question

Would it violate the Canons of Ethics for a County Bar Association to publish in a newspaper the following advertisement?

"CALL YOUR LAWYER.  When you have been injured while at work or have had an accident causing personal injuries, the first person to contact is your doctor.  The next person you need to call is your LAWYER.  Sign no statement until your attorney examines it.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost each year because people representing the other side of a lawsuit get to them first.  Let your attorney approve your settlement.  Any lawyer will advise you concerning your claim arising out of your accident without charge?

Opinion

The committee is of the opinion that the advertisement in question would violate Canon 24, which prohibits solicitation of professional employment, and also would violate Canon 25, which prohibits stirring up litigation. One member, though disapproving the action of the Bar Association, expressed the view that the advertisement would violate Canons 24 and 25, if inserted by a member of the Bar, but would not constitute a violation of these Canons if inserted by a Bar Association, if the Canons are strictly construed.  (9-1)