OPINION 241
August 1961

SOLICITATION—ADVERTISING—LISTING IN COMMERCIAL PAGES OF TELEPHONE DIRECTORY—Attorney residing in one city may not properly list themselves in the commercial or yellow pages of a telephone book of another town, even though the other town is in the same county, has no attorneys, and the inhabitants of said town, as a general rule, take their legal problems to the attorneys of the city in question.

Canons 24, 39.

Question

Adjacent to and in the same county as a city in Texas is a relatively large community which is served by an independent telephone exchange. The manager of the independent exchange has contacted the members of the bar association of the aforementioned city for the purpose of selling to them listings in the yellow pages of his telephone directory. It is understood that all of the members of city’s bar association have clients in the community referred to and that probably attorneys in other nearby cities also have clients in this community.

Would it be ethical for attorneys in a city, which is served by one telephone company, to have listings in the telephone directory of another and independent exchange which serves a community within the county?

Opinion

It is unethical for attorneys in any city to list in the commercial or yellow pages of a telephone book of another town, even though the other town is in the same county, has no attorneys, and the inhabitants of the town frequently, if not generally, take their legal problems to attorneys in such city.

Listing in the commercial pages of any telephone book is, of course, an advertisement, and it is permitted only in the interest of enabling a layman or prospective client to locate or telephone an attorney already selected. It is not for the purpose of soliciting business. Presumably, people in the small community in question already know that they must go to an adjacent town or city to secure legal services. Permitting attorneys not located in that community to advertise in the telephone book of that community smacks more of solicitation than of serving the convenience of the public.

The committee, by this opinion, expressly overrules section 2 of Opinion 30. Further, the committee holds that Opinion 6 and Section 1 of Opinion 30 apply solely to listings in the telephone directory of the town or towns in which an attorney may have offices. (9-0.)