Ethics Opinions from the Bar Association of San Francisco
INFORMAL OPINION 1970-2
A lawyer may send a letter to members of the Bar stating he is in the position to handle nominal and no-asset bankruptcies and would welcome referrals of such cases if the letter is dignified, does not contain a representation of special competence or experience, and is not distributed more frequently than once in a calendar year, although such a notice may be published periodically in legal journals. (Rule DR 2-105 (A) (3)).
Dear Mr. Smith:
This office specializes in nominal and no-asset bankruptcies, and we would welcome the referral of cases in this area that your firm may find burdensome or financially unacceptable.
The ethical principles applicable to your inquiry are well stated in Rule DR 2-105(A)(3) of the American Bar Association, Code of Professional Responsibility:
In one respect, however, a slight change in wording might avoid any possible question of unethical practice. The rule provides that the announcement shall not contain a representation of special competence or experience. The use of the word "specializes" might imply particular competence or experience. It might be wise, therefore, to avoid that word, and to substitute something to the effect that the office is in a position to handle matters of the kind stated.
All opinions of the Committee are subject to the following disclaimer:
In using these opinions you should be aware that subsequent judicial opinions and revised rules of professional conduct may have dealt with the areas covered by these ethics opinions.