Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Monday, August 15, 2005

New Opinions from the Supreme Court of Ohio's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline

OPINION 2005-6

Decided August 8, 2005

SYLLABUS: A lawyer or law firm should not participate in a local television station’s advertising and public service program if entitled “Ask the Expert.” The program name, not the program itself, is objectionable under the disciplinary rules. Lawyers may not hold themselves out as experts. If a television station’s advertising and public service program is properly titled, the lawyer’s participation is proper so long as the lawyer is able to comply with his or her ethical duties under the Ohio Code of Professional Conduct.

OPINION 2005-7

Issued August 5, 2005

SYLLABUS: It is proper for attorneys to volunteer in a bar association sponsored program providing public education and pro bono legal services regarding advance directive forms. The term “advance directive” refers to living will, health-care power of attorney, and anatomical gift forms, and to mental health declarations. Such efforts by the bar association and the volunteer attorneys help educate the public and provide access for individuals without means to afford such legal assistance.

Whether it is proper for individual lawyers or law firms, acting on their own and not through a proper auspice such as a bar association, to provide public education and pro bono legal services regarding advance directive forms depends upon the facts and circumstances. The propriety is determined by the purpose and the conduct. It would be proper if the lawyer’s or law firm’s purpose is to provide needed public education and pro bono legal services and there is no improper solicitation of legal business. It would be improper if the purpose and modus operandi is in-person solicitation of legal business.

OPINION 2005-8

Issued August 5, 2005

SYLLABUS: In the absence of an express ethical or statutory restriction, a retired judge who engages in the practice of law may also serve as a private judge pursuant to R.C. § 2701.10. To avoid an appearance of impropriety, a retired judge should not practice law in the court in which he or she frequently accepts referrals as a private judge and should not act as a lawyer in any proceeding in which he or she served as a private judge or in any related proceeding.



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