April 28, 1975
Ethics Opinon 1975-8
SUBJECT: ETHICS COMMITTEE REPORT
An attorney of the County Counsel's Office, has requested the assistance of the San Diego County Bar Association in soliciting volunteer members to whom guardianship of minors in uncontested matters will be referred by the County Counsel's Office. May the San Diego County Bar Association or the County Counsel's Office ethically advertise for attorney members interested in having such cases referred to them?
Yes. The San Diego County Bar Association or the County Counsel's Office may advertise for attorney members interested in applying for inclusion on a list of attorneys willing to handle guardianship of minors in uncontested matters.
STATUTES AND CANONS
There are no Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California or Canons of Professional Ethics of the American Bar Association that would cover this particular question.
The activity suggested is not proscribed advertising inasmuch as there is no solicitation by an attorney for employment. The Code of Professional Responsibility and Canons of Professional Ethics cover situations where professional employment is being sought. In the instant case, attorneys are being sought through a professional legal publication, distributed only to members of the County Bar Association. This situation would be analogous to attorney help-wanted advertisements in professional legal publications.
The County Bar Association has long solicited attorney members for inclusion on Lawyer Referral Service panels and on criminal court appointed panels. This solicitation is generally accomplished through direct mailing to all members of the County Bar Association, presumably on the same mailing plates as are distributed DICTA. The other forms of attorney solicitation for referral panel membership logically cannot be distinguished from solicitation through advertisements in DICTA. Furthermore, these other forms of solicitation presumably have not been the subject of any ethical review because of questioned propriety.
This opinion is advisory only. It is not binding upon the State Bar, the Board of Governors, its agents or employees.
Disclaimer: This opinion was issued by the Legal Ethics Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association. It is advisory only and is not binding upon any member of the SDCBA, any other member of the State Bar of California, the State Bar of California or its Board of Governors, or any persons or tribunals charged with regulatory responsibilities. The SDCBA, its officers, directors, agents, and the Legal Ethics Committee members assume no responsibility or liability in rendering this opinion.