May 21, 1982
It is ethically proper for a lawyer to disseminate advertisement literature which promotes a lawyer's other business in which he/she engages in which the lawyer's qualifications in those other businesses are related to his/her law practice and where the lawyer by virtue of the ownership in said other business enterprise can exercise complete control over the use of the legal identification and designation contained in said adverting materials. Said disseminated literature must not be false, fraudulent, misleading or deceptive.
It is ethically improper to utilize an "attorney-at-law" signature identification contained in a letter written by a lawyer on said attorney's other business' stationery where no legal service and/or advice were actually rendered relative to the other business enterprise.
References: CI-596, CI-598; AO 1978-4.
The following facts are set forth:
- A lawyer is licensed to practice law in the state of Michigan and have been continuously so licensed since admission.
- The lawyer is a licensed real estate broker, and have been continuously so licensed for some time.
The inquirer asks if it is proper to list in the yellow pages and in any other advertising, under headings for both attorneys and real estate brokers, that you are licensed to both practice law and act as a real estate broker.
Prior opinions, CI-596 and CI-598 dictate the result herein and support your proposed listing and dissemination of material. No distinction is seen between your proposed activities and those described in CI-596 and CI-598. See that portion of CI-598 dealing with attorney signature identification on letters not pertaining to legal services.
Therefore, it would be ethically proper for you as an attorney to list your status as both an attorney and real estate broker in the yellow pages and other advertising media, subject to the restrictions set forth in CI-596 and CI-598, and further set forth in the Order 1978-4 of the Michigan Supreme Court concerning attorney advertising.