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Rule 7.5. Firm Names andLetterheads.

(a) A lawyer shall not use a firm name,letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1. A tradename may be used by a lawyer in private practice if it does not imply aconnection with a government agency or with a public or charitable legalservices organization and is not otherwise in violation of Rule 7.1.

(b) A law firm with offices in more than onejurisdiction may use the same name or other professional designation in eachjurisdiction, but identification of the lawyers in an office of the firm shallindicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice inthe jurisdiction where the office is located.

(c) The name of a lawyer holding a publicoffice shall not be used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on itsbehalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively andregularly practicing with the firm.

(d) Lawyers may state or imply that theypractice in a partnership or other organization only when that is the fact.

Comment

[1] A firm may be designated by the names ofall or some of its members, by the names of deceased or retired members wherethere has been a continuing succession in the firm's identity or by a tradename such as the "ABC Legal Clinic." A lawyer or law firm may also bedesignated by a distinctive website address or comparable professionaldesignation. Although the United States Supreme Court has held that legislationmay prohibit the use of trade names in professional practice, use of such namesin law practice is acceptable so long as it is not misleading. If a privatefirm uses a trade name that includes a geographical name such as"Springfield Legal Clinic," an express disclaimer that it is not apublic legal aid agency may be required to avoid a misleading implication. Itmay be observed that any firm name including the name of a deceased or retiredpartner is, strictly speaking, a trade name. The use of such names to designatelaw firms has proven a useful means of identification. However, it ismisleading to use the name of a lawyer who has not been associated with thefirm or a predecessor of the firm, or the name of a nonlawyer.

[2] With regard to paragraph (d), lawyerssharing office facilities, but who are not in fact associated with each otherin a law firm, may not denominate themselves as, for example, "Smith andJones," for that title suggests that they are practicing law together in afirm.

 

Effective December 19, 2018