Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 124

Adopted October 30, 1936

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“For many years, I have carried a card in the city directory as follows:

………………..(name of lawyer)


Special attention to civil practice including titles and probate practice.

…… Bldg. Phone ……

Is this proper under the rules of professional conduct?”

In response:

Rule 45 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a member of the bar may insert his professional card in a reputable law directory or reputable law list. As stated in Opinion No. 116 of the A. B. A. Committee on Professional Ethics, after referring to Canon 43 which contains the same provision in this respect as rule 45 of the State Bar:

“The line is strictly drawn by the Canons in permitting the insertion of the lawyer’s name and a special branch of practice in a law list only. * * * this means a list circulated among lawyers and not intended to draw the attention of the public.”

Rule 29 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides:

“The use (but not publication except as provided in Rule 45) of simple introductory cards in the ordinary course of the practice of law is not improper. …

The solicitation of business by the distribution of cards or circulars, or by their publication, other than the publication of cards as permitted by Rule 45, or by other advertisement or by personal communication or interview not warranted by personal relations, is unprofessional.”

The insertion of the card in the form submitted in the city directory is disapproved.