June 30, 1980
It is improper for an attorney to allow his or her name and professional status to appear as a reference in a promotional brochure for an insurance agent where there has been, or it is anticipated there will be, referrals of clients from the agent to the attorney.
References: DR 2-103(B).
You propose to allow your name and professional status to appear in a list of references as part of an insurance agent's promotional brochure. This brochure would be mailed or handed out to prospective clients of the agent. The agent has referred clients to you in the past. No agreements have been made about the referral of clients, nor is one contemplated. It is expected that the agent will continue to refer clients to you.
DR 2-103(D) states:
"A lawyer shall not compensate or give anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or secure his or her employment by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in his/her employment by a client, except that he or she may pay the usual and reasonable fees or dues charged by any of the organization listed in DR 2-103(D)."
The use of your name and professional status as a reference in the agent's brochure must be considered something of value. The facts, as stated, do not support the conclusion that you are intentionally acting as a reference in return for the agent's recommendation of your professional services. However, the fact that the agent has recommended your professional services in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, does serve to create the appearance of professional impropriety. Therefore, allowing your name and professional status to appear as a reference in the brochure would be improper.