Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 60

Adopted October 27, 1933

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“Assuming that an attorney wished to specialize in the law of damages,

(a) Do the rules of conduct preclude an attorney from specializing like the medical and other professions?

(b) Would the following on the door or professional card, be regarded as not ethical:

BLANK & BLANK, Attorneys

Prosecute & Defend Damage Suits.”

In response to (a):

The Rules of Professional Conduct do not preclude a member of the bar from specializing in any particular branch of law.

In response to (b):

Rule 45 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that “the simple professional card mentioned in Rule 29 may with propriety contain only a statement of his name, profession, address, telephone number and special branch of the profession practiced.” The words on the door or card “prosecute and defend damage suits” seems to prevent the proposed sign or card from falling within the classification of an “ordinary simple business card” and seems to savor of the solicitation of business in contravention of Rule 29 of the Rules of Professional Conduct; and yet it seems to be too fine a distinction to draw a line between “personal injury law a specialty” and “prosecute and defend damage suits.” The question involves more a matter of taste than ethics.