83-F-49 - Vacated*

 

*Vacated by the Board of Professional Responsibility on September 11, 2015 due to changes in the law or rules.

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 83-F-49


Inquiry is made as to the propriety of producing and distributing a law firm brochure to regular clients and/or to prospective clients upon request.


The proposed brochure contains a short history of the law firm and a biographical sketch of each member and associate accompanied by a small photograph of each attorney. The brochure states that the firm has a diversified general practice including general litigation, products liability law; defense of medical, dental, accountants, architects and engineers malpractice and other professional negligence actions; worker's compensation law; construction law and suretyship; probate law; criminal law; corporate; commercial; real estate; and patent, copyright and trademark law. The address of the firm is stated. The brochure provides that a list of representative clients and a schedule of fees will be furnished upon request. The brochure is prepared for and furnished only to the firm's regular clients or prospective clients who may request a copy.

Tennessee Formal Ethics Opinion 81-F-14, issued on August 26, 1981, held that the production and dissemination of such a proposed manual was not permissible at that time.

On March 9, 1983, the publicity rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility were amended by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Disciplinary Rule 2-102(A) of the Code provides:

DR 2-102 PROFESSIONAL NOTICES, LETTERHEADS and OFFICES.
(A) A lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates DR 2-101 or DR 2-105.

Thus, professional notices such as the brochure proposed herein must comply with the publicity and advertising rules of the Code.

Disciplinary Rule 2-101(C) of the Code provides:

(C) If a lawyer publishes or broadcasts a communication that contains any listing of legal services for specific areas of practice, the communication must include the following precise wording:

LISTING OF THE ABOVE LEGAL SERVICES OR SPECIFIC AREAS OF PRACTICE DOES NOT INDICATE ANY CERTIFICATION OR EXPERTISE THEREIN.

Disciplinary Rule 2-101(M) of the Code provides:

(M) Lawyers may advertise in established and regularly published print media and over established electronic media. Handbills, circulars, direct mail, or the like may be used, but only if the contents comply with all requirements that pertain to the print media, and if the persons who deliver the handbills, circulars, direct mail and the like are not the lawyer or associates or members of the law firm advertised, and do not engage in solicitation.

There is no impropriety of producing and distributing a law firm brochure to regular clients and/or to prospective clients upon request provided the requirements of DR 2-101(C) and DR 2-101(M) are strictly followed.

This 14th day of July , 1983.

ETHICS COMMITTEE:

Edwin C. Townsend
W. J. Flippin
Henry H. Hancock

APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD