Ethics Opinion

Opinion No. 80-5

May 1980

Summary: A law firm may, consistent with Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:22, distribute to clients a brochure describing its background, the background of its attorneys, and the nature of its practice.

Facts: The law firm of A, B, and C, consisting of several partners and several associates, wishes to print a brochure for distribution to clients represented by the firm. The brochure will contain a brief history of the development of the firm, biographical and educational information with respect to the partners and associates of the firm, a description of the areas of practice of the firm, a representative list of firm clients, and general information on fees and selection of an attorney. The opinion of the committee is sought as to the appropriateness of the brochure and its distribution to clients of the firm.

Discussion: In MBA Opinion 79-10 dealing with information which may be included on a lawyer's stationery, we examined Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:22, as amended effective July 1, 1979. We stated in that opinion that "effective July 1, 1979, DR 2-101, 2-102, and 2-103 prohibit the use of any form of public communication containing a deceptive statement or claim." Assuming that the facts presented in the brochure are not deceptive, we believe that the printing of the brochure proposed by A, B, and C is not proscribed by the Disciplinary Rules.
With respect to the distribution of the brochure, DR 2-103 prohibits a lawyer from recommending his employment "to a non-lawyer who has not sought his advice regarding employment ... ." As the firm of A, B, and C has indicated that it intends to distribute the brochure only to its clients as a means of describing fully the services of the firm, we believe that the class of people to whom it will be distributed are not non-lawyers who have not sought the firms advice regarding employment. Such a distribution to existing clients of the firm, or to others who have sought the advice of the firm, would not be prohibited by the Disciplinary Rules. We express no opinion as to whether distribution to non-clients would be prohibited. See Kentucky Bar Association v. Stuart, 568 S.W.2d 933 (Ky. 1978); In Re Koffler, 70 A.D.2d 252 (N.Y. 1979).
The committee assumes that the clients have consented to the use of their name in the representative list of clients, as may be required by DR 4-101.

Permission to publish granted by the Board of Delegates on May 21, 1980. As stated in the Rules of the Committee on Professional Ethics, this advice is that of a committee without official governmental status.