ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION A member who owns, with others, a building designed for the occupancy of only a limited number of lawyers and who calls the building "Lawyers Building" would not be violating the minimum ethical requirements of professional conduct, but he would not be conforming to the general ethical standards with which a member should comply even though he does not have to do so.
A city building, owned by a corporation, is called "Lawyers Building." A member and two other individuals own and control the corporation. The building is primarily designed for occupancy by lawyers and built to accommodate between thirty and thirty-five lawyers. At present, the member, his five associates, five other lawyers and three independent enterprises (only indirectly connected with the practice of law) are tenants of the building. The vacant offices, which would accommodate approximately ten more lawyers, are offered for lease to all lawyers. Has the member acted with professional impropriety in the naming of this building and, perhaps, in occupying offices in a building so named?
ABA informal opinion No. C441, a brief summary opinion, states that a building may be called "Lawyers Building" if it is designed and actually used by lawyers generally, but that the building should not be so called if it is intended or is suitable only for use by the lawyer-owner or a very few local lawyers. The committee agrees that it does not seem improper for a building to be designated "Lawyers Building" if it is designed for a reasonable number of lawyers, whereas (See Texas Opinion No. 221) it would be undignified and misleading for a one-man building to be designated "Lawyers Building."
The situation presented in this inquiry seems to be a borderline case assuming that lawyers are secured as tenants for the vacant offices, because it may be debatable whether or not the number of lawyers which can be accommodated in this building would be considered a reasonable number, especially in a metropolitan area. The committee is of the opinion that the naming of this building "Lawyers Building," under the circumstances outlined, is not a violation of the minimum ethical requirements of professional conduct but that it does not conform to the general ethical standards with which a lawyer should comply even though he doesn't have to do so.
This opinion does not conflict with the ABA opinion cited above for the reason that it is felt that thirty to thirty-five lawyers m the community in question must be construed as a "limited" number. (9-0.)