Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 205

Adopted August 11, 1960

The Executive Council has submitted to the Legal Ethics Committee the following inquiry:


The following advertisement appeared in the classified section of a state newspaper:

“Income Tax returns prepared and refund claims purchased by John Doe, Blank Building”

Mr. Doe is a member of the Bar engaging in the practice at the address stated. Is such advertisement permitted under the Canons of Ethics?


We are of the opinion that it is not permitted in that it constitutes a clear violation of Canon 27 which prohibits advertisement by members of the Bar directly or indirectly. The fact that laymen perform this same service and advertise their availability so to do is irrelevant. (In the present case a similar ad by a layman appeared in the same column of the classified section.) When this service is performed by attorneys, it constitutes the practice of law and the omission of the designation of his profession in no way mitigates the offense. See OBA Opinions 196 and American Bar Memorandum Opinion No. 29A.