December 1960

SOLICITATION - PUBLICATION OF PRINTED CHRISTMAS GREETINGS BY DISTRICT JUDGES - District Judges may publish printed Christmas greetings in their local newspapers.

Canon 24, 39.


Would it violate the Canons of Ethics for district judges to publish printed Christmas greetings in the newspapers?


Such action would not constitute a violation of the Canon of Ethics.  Texas Canon 24 prohibits a lawyer from soliciting employment directly or by advertisement, directly or indirectly.  It, therefore, is beyond question that a practicing attorney would be acting in an improper and unethical manner if he published a Christmas card in the newspaper; see also ABA Opinion No. 107, and City of New York Opinion No. 395 (holding it unethical for a lawyer to mail Christmas greeting cards bearing his name and "counselor" to clients).

In the past, however, the need of an attorney who is a public official to advertise has been recognized, and it has been held that this is permissible, at least so long as it cannot be considered in any manner a direct solicitation of future employment.

A fact situation might, of course, be envisioned where a judge was shortly retiring and was running such an announcement as an indirect solicitation, and then such conduct would be in violation of Texas Canon 24.  Perhaps many lawyers feel that it is beneath the dignity of the judiciary or beneath the dignity of a lawyer acting in a judicial capacity to participate in such a public advertisement, but this is a matter of etiquette and not of ethics.  (9-0)