Opinion 494

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Committee on Professional Ethics

Opinion #494 – 10/05/1978 (50-78)

Overrules in part #’s 22, 128, 200, 206
Topic: Dual practice; certified public accountant; letterheads; professional cards
Digest: Letterhead and professional cards may state lawyer is licensed as a certified public accountant
Code: DR 2-101 (A) through (D), 2-102.

QUESTION

May a lawyer state on his letterhead and on his professional card that he is licensed as a certified public accountant?

OPINION

DR 2-102, as recently amended and approved by each Department of the Appellate Division, provides in part:”A lawyer … may use professional cards [and] letterheads provided the same do not violate any statute or court rule, and are in accordance with DR 2-101…”As we explained in N. Y. State 487 (1978), DR 2-101 now generally permits the use of truthful information relevant to the selection of appropriate counsel. While DR 2-101 forbids puffery or self­ laudation, it clearly allows a lawyer to state his “education, degrees and other scholastic distinctions” as well as “memberships in bar associations and other professional societies or organizations.”Considering the question posed in relation to the aforementioned provisions of DR 2-101, we conclude that an accurate statement on a letterhead or professional card to the effect that a lawyer is licensed as a certified public account is permissible.For the reasons stated, the question posed is answered in the affirmative.

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