Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 76

Adopted July 27, 1934

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“May a member of the Bar following the profession of an abstracter, combine his calling with the additional one of holding himself out to the public as an Attorney at Law and actually practicing both callings at the same time?”

In response:

The question involved has been considered in:

Advisory Opinion No. 67 (March 1934, Bar Journal).

Advisory Opinion No. 64 (December 1933, Bar Journal).

Advisory Opinion No. 31 (Vol. 26 State Bar Reports 203).

In Advisory Opinion No. 67 it was said:

“Though a lawyer is not prohibited by any accepted standard from engaging in a lay business while practicing law, he must conduct such lay business with due observance of the standards of conduct required of him as a lawyer; and that in conducting such a lay business, he must not use it as a means of obtaining law business, nor must he use the fact that he is a member of the bar as a means to obtain lay business. In this connection the Board restates what it has had repeated occasion to state, ‘a member of the bar should not only avoid all impropriety, but should likewise avoid the appearance of impropriety’.”

In the last analysis, a member of the Bar who assumes the relationship set out in the inquiry under consideration, as also said in Advisory Opinion No. 67, “will undoubtedly be under the suspicion of improper conduct.”