March 1964

SOLICITATION—ADVERTISING SHINGLES. It is not proper for a lawyer whose office is difficult to find to place a sign elsewhere displaying the lawyer’s name, profession, and directions for locating his office, and it is even more clearly improper to use such sign when it also contains the name and profession of the lawyer’s spouse and the words "Notary Public."

Canon 24.


The office of attorney S is located in a residential area and it is somewhat difficult to find. S proposes to place s sign on a corner one block away. The sign would carry the name of S, followed by: "Law Office, one block," with an arrow indicating direction. Is it unethical to locate this sign in this manner? If so, what ethically may be done to indicate the location of S’s law office?

S’s spouse is a Notary Public and also is licensed in another profession. Is it ethical for the sign, described above, to include the name of S’s spouse with an indication of the profession and the words "Notary Public"?


Both signs would be unethical. Since the residence is used as a law office, an appropriate shingle may be used at the place of residence, but not elsewhere. For a shingle to be placed elsewhere and to include also the words "Notary Public" and an indication of another service seems to increase the advertising aspects of the situation. (See Wisconsin v. Willenson, 20 Wis.2d 519, 123 N.W.2d 452 (1963), condemning the signs in a law office where "Lawyer" appeared on one window and "Income Tax" appeared on another window, although the income tax service was operated by the lawyer’s spouse as a separate business."

It has been said that "signs . . . designed to invite the public to engage (one) as counsel . . . are not permissible" and that the test "is whether the sign is intended and calculated to enable persons looking for a lawyer, already selected, to find him, or to attract the attention of persons who might be looking for a lawyer, although not for him" IN RE Duffy, 19 A.D. 177, 242 N.Y.S.2d 665 (1963). S’s situation represents a problem because the office is difficult to find, but the most that can be done to indicate the locating of S’s office is to place on the corner a small, dignified sign containing only the name of S and the directions such as "one block" with an arrow. Even so, the sign should not be commercial in appearance and should be one calculated only to aid the persons looking for S who had already selected S as an attorney or perhaps those who were merely attempting to locate S’s residence. (9-0.)