Ethics Opinion 144

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #144 – 07/02/1970 (23-70)
Topic: Advertising: Letterheads, Partnerships, Associates, Foreign Attorneys
Digest: In the absence of affiliation it is improper to designate as associates lawyers practicing with an out of state law firm; partnerships may be properly formed between lawyers admitted to practice in different states provided there is no use of misleading representation

Code:  DR 2-102(D)

QUESTION

A.         May a New York law firm list on its stationery as associates the names of members of an out-of- state law firm, none of whom are admitted to practice in New York?B.         May a partnership be formed between or among lawyers in different jurisdictions?

OPINION

It is improper for a firm to designate as associates lawyers practicing with an out-of-state law firm with which it is not affiliated.    cf. Drinker, Legal Ethics 205 (1953); N.Y. City 684 (1946), ABA Inf. 1097 (1969) It follows that listing the names of such lawyers on its stationery is prohibited irrespective of whether the jurisdictional limitations of their admittance are indicated.In connection with the formation of a partnership DR 2-102(D) provides:”A partnership shall not be formed or continued between or among lawyers licensed in different jurisdictions unless all enumerations of the members and associates of the firm on its letterhead and in other permissible listings make clear the jurisdictional limitations on those members and associates of the firm not licensed to practice in all listed jurisdictions; however, the same firm name may be used in each jurisdiction.”The above quoted rule recognizes that partnerships may properly be formed between lawyer s admitted to practice in different states, if there is no use of a misleading name or other representation which would create a false impression as to the professional position or privileges of a member not locally admitted. See N.Y. City 684 (1946); N.Y. City 700 (1946); ABA 316 (1967).

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