March 1959

SOLICITATION—ANNOUNCEMENT CARDS—NOTICE OF SPECIALIZED SERVICEAn attorney may not properly send a printed announcement card, concerning the opening of law offices to other members of the local bar, which card states that the attorney will engage in "General Civil Practice—Collections."

Canons 2442.


Is it proper for an attorney to send a printed announcement card, concerning the opening of law offices, to other members of the local bar located in the same city, which card states, in addition to name, address and phone number, "general Civil Practice—Collections"?


The "collections" announcement is a direct solicitation of legal business in violation of Canon 24 unless it is permissible under Canon 42. Canon 42 permits only the "publication" in legal periodical and like publications of such a notice, then only if the notice relates to "specialized legal service."  "Specialized legal services" has been construed very strictly, so that apparently nothing except taxation, copyright, and patent practice fall within that classification.

See Opinion 52, 77, 15, 2, 10, and 112.  See also ABA Opinions 36, 145, 159, 183, 203, 223, and 263.

The majority of the committee is of the opinion that the announcement card does not meet the requirements of "publication" of a notice relating to "specialized legal services" within the meaning of Canon 42, and that use of the card in the manner contemplated clearly violates Canon 42 as it is now written.

See Opinions 15, 98, 112.  See also ABA Opinion 251.

However, the majority also believes that such an announcement of specialized practice, mailed to other members of the bar should not be a violation of the Canons, and suggests that the State Bar consider the possibility of amending Canon 42 to more nearly conform to the "companion" ABA Canon 46 which apparently authorizes such procedure.  (5-3.)