Ethics Opinions

Opinion No. 74-12

Summary: A lawyer may not list on his letterhead the jurisdictions in which he is admitted to practice.

Facts: A lawyer seeks our approval of a letterhead which would include the following: his name, the words "counselor at law," a New York address and telephone number, a Massachusetts address and telephone number, and the notations: "Member - English Bar - Canadian Bar - New York Bar - Massachusetts Bar.''

Discussion: Disciplinary Rule DR 2-102(A) provides specifically that a lawyer shall not use a letterhead except that he may use one which contains the items specified in subsection (4) of the rule. That subsection does not authorize listing of the bars of which the lawyer is a member.
The same result was reached in interpretations of the older ABA Canons of Ethics. See ABA Informal Opinions No. 127, 821, and 956, which in substance indicate that a lawyer's letterhead should not state that he is admitted in another state.
Of course the letterhead of a law firm which includes the names of members or associates not admitted to practice in the state in which the law firm is based must disclose such limitations. See Disciplinary Rule DR 2-102(D).


Permission to publish granted by the Board of Delegates, 1974. As stated in the Rules of the Committee on Professional Ethics, this advice is that of a committee without official governmental status.
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