LEO: Advertisements LE Op. 821

 

Advertisements.

 

September 19, 1986

 

An industrial marketing firm solicited the business of two attorneys who

had an office sharing relationship, but were not partners. The firm

marketed professional services to industrial credit unions. The firm

requested the attorneys pay a fee to the marketing firm to produce a

brochure and market it to the credit union members. The prepared brochure

listed both attorneys under one heading and did not state that the

attorneys paid the firm a fee.

 

In reviewing the proposed brochure, the committee determined that the

brochure violated the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility for the

following reasons:

 

(1) The circular violated DR:2-102(C) because it seemingly represented

the attorneys as being partners in the same firm.

 

(2) Disciplinary Rule 2-103(D) [ DR:2-103] prohibits an attorney from

compensating an organization that recommends or secures employment. The

brochure appears to be a recommendation of the attorneys. Payment of a

direct fee to the marketing firm for such a service is therefore contrary

to the restriction of DR:2-103(D).

 

(3) DR:2-101(B) may be violated since a public communication for which

a lawyer has given value must be identified as such.

 

(4) Finally, it does not appear that the marketing service qualifies as a

legal services plan under Virginia Code 38.2-4400 et seq. [ DR:2-101(

B), DR:2-102(C), DR:2-103(D)]

 

Committee Opinion September 19, 1986