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Written Communication Soliciting Professional Employment from Newly Formed Corporation

Adopted: January 24, 1997

Opinion rules that a lawyer may send a letter describing his services to the incorporators of a new business provided the words "This is an advertisement for legal services" are included in the communication.

Inquiry #1:

Attorney A regularly obtains a list of newly formed corporations from the secretary of state's office. Attorney A then sends a letter of introduction to the incorporators of the new corporations in his community. The letter provides a general explanation of the legal services offered by Attorney A's law firm. These services include the preparation of legal documentation, drafting contracts, pursuing trade receivables, closing commercial loans, etc. The words "This is an advertisement for legal services" do not appear on the envelope or at the beginning of the body of the letter. Is this a violation of Rule 2.4(c)?

Opinion #1:

Yes. See Rule 2.4(c) which requires the statement "This is an advertisement for legal services" on targeted direct mail letters.

Inquiry #2:

Attorney A provides business consulting services as well as legal services to clients of his law firm. These business consulting services include resolving financial issues and preparing business, marketing, and financial plans. May Attorney A provide business consulting services to clients as a service of his law firm?

Opinion #2:

Yes. However, a lawyer is subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct with respect to the provision of a law related service, such as business consulting, if the law related service is provided by the lawyer in circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer's provision of legal services to clients. See RPC 238.

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