Opinion 284
June 1964

ADVERTISEMENT—LETTERHEADS. The use on a lawyer's letterhead of an emblem which is not self-laudatory and which is not calculated to solicit legal work is not forbidden by any canon of ethics, but the display of the emblem is frowned upon.

Canon 24.

Question

The letterhead of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York, displays the goddess of justice holding the scales of justice. May a Texas law firm's letterhead display this emblem?

Opinion

This question has caused the committee some concern. While Canon 24 generally prohibits an advertisement of a self-laudatory nature as well as one calculated to solicit business directly or indirectly, this addition to a letterhead does not appear to fall within the prohibition of Canon 24, and therefore the use of the emblem on the letterhead does not violate the minimum requirements of professional responsibility. At the same time, several members of the committee feel that the use of emblems of any kind is out of keeping with the dignity required of the profession and could lead to the use of more questionable emblems, and that the lawyer's professional responsibility can best be served by avoiding all use of emblems on his professional stationery. The members of this view would label the use of the emblem as improper, not in the sense that any canon is violated, but in the sense that its use does not conform to the general standards of the profession. ( 9-0. )