Copyright 1995-1999 Touch N' Go Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No claim made to official government works.
Rule 7.5. Firm Names and Letterheads.
(a) A lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1. A trade name may be used by a lawyer in private practice if it does not imply a connection with a government agency or with a public or charitable legal services organization and is not otherwise in violation of Rule 7.1.
(b) A law firm with offices in more than one jurisdiction may use the same name in each jurisdiction, but identification of the lawyers in an office of the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the office is located.
(c) The name of a lawyer holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.
(d) Lawyers shall not state or imply that they practice in a partnership or other organization unless the relationship stated or implied in fact exists.
(e) The term "of counsel" shall be used only to refer to a lawyer who has a close continuing relationship with the firm. (SCO 1123 effective July 15, 1993)
Paragraph (d) of Rule 7.5 was amended simply to make it read better.
The ABA commentary notes that attorneys who share office facilities should not call themselves "Smith and Jones" or any other name suggesting partnership. Similarly, the committee thought that a sole practitioner should not use "and associates" or other language implying a group practice. The committee added subsection (e).
The term "of counsel" contemplates either that the lawyer practices in the offices of the lawyer or law firm to which the lawyer is "of counsel," or that the lawyer is in regular and frequent contact with the lawyer or law firm. The term shall not be applied to one who is merely a forwarder or receiver of legal business. The fact that a lawyer emphasizes a particular field and is willing to accept business from several firms does not make him "of counsel" to all those firms. A lawyer should not be "of counsel" to more than two or three law firms, because the term implies a close continuing relationship that could be relied upon by prospective clients.
A firm may be designated by the names of all or some of its members, by the names of deceased members where there has been a continuing succession in the firm's identity or by a trade name such as the "ABC Legal Clinic." Although the United States Supreme Court has held that legislation may prohibit the use of trade names in professional practice, use of such names in law practice is acceptable so long as it is not misleading. If a private firm uses a trade name that includes a geographical name such as "Springfield Legal Clinic," an express disclaimer that it is a public legal aid agency may be required to avoid a misleading implication. It may be observed that any firm name including the name of a deceased partner is, strictly speaking, a trade name. The use of names to designate law firms has proven a useful means of identification. However, it is misleading to use the name of a lawyer not associated with the firm or a predecessor of the firm.
With regard to paragraph (d), lawyers sharing office facilities, but who are not in fact partners, may not denominate themselves as, for example, "Smith and Jones," for that title suggests partnership in the practice of law.
MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROFESSION
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Copyright 1995-1999 by Touch N' Go Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. No copyright claim is made to the text of the rules.
Last Modified 7/14/1999