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JOHNNIE WALLS AND ROBERT BUCK v. MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR

AUGUST 24, 1983

JOHNNIE WALLS AND ROBERT BUCK
v.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR



BEFORE BROOM, ROY NOBLE LEE AND BOWLING

BOWLING, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal involves a complaint against appellants, Attorney Johnnie Walls and Attorney Robert Buck, conducting their profession as a partnership. The proceedings were brought by the Mississippi State Bar under the provisions of Mississippi Code Annotated, Section 73-3-301, et seq. (Supp. 1982). The complaint alleged that on February 14, 1979, appellant after opening a branch office in Clarksdale, Mississippi, held an "open house" contrary to the provisions of Disciplinary Rule 2-101 (B) and Disciplinary Rule 2-102 (A). Under these disciplinary rules the particular breach alleged was of Ethics Opinion No. 10 of the Mississippi State Bar, adopted on November 20, 1962, as follows:

Solicitation - Advertising - It is unethical and professionally improper for a lawyer to hold an "open house" at his law office.

 RULE 27

 The attention of the committee has been directed to the practice of some individual attorneys and law firms holding "open houses"

 at the opening or renovation of their offices and/or at Christmas, and/or on other special occasions. Invitations, either personally or in writing, are given to other attorney clients and non-clients.

 Rule 27 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Mississippi State Bar provides that it is unprofessional for a lawyer to solicit professional employment either directly or indirectly.

 The intent of a lawyer in having an "open house" is obviously to advertise the office facilities of the host and the services that are available and in effect to solicit and encourage the guests to utilize his services.

 In the opinion of the committee this constitutes a form of advertising and solicitation of business and is highly improper and unprofessional.

 This ruling does not any where all of the local lawyers only and no other persons are invited. (Emphasis ours).

 The original State Bar Petition alleged that 500 invitations to the "open house" were ordered and distributed. The invitation reads as follows:

 WALLS AND BUCK, LTD. Attorneys at Law

 A Professional Association 819 ...


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