Ethics Opinions

Opinion No. 82-2

Summary: References to a lawyer's dual professional status as an attorney and certified public accountant on his business cards and envelopes do not violate DR 2-102 or any other provision of SJC Rule 3:07.

Facts: A lawyer admitted to the Massachusetts bar, who is also a certified public accountant licensed to practice in Massachusetts and who practices in both fields, wishes to make reference to his dual status as a lawyer and as a certified public accountant on the business cards and envelopes he uses in the practice of both professions. On his legal cards and envelopes, he wishes to have the abbreviation "CPA" appear after his name, and on his accountancy cards and envelopes, the abbreviation "Esq."
Discussion: DR 2-102 provides:
A lawyer or law firm shall not knowingly use or participate in the use of a professional announcement card, office sign, letterhead, telephone directory listing, law list, legal directory listing, or a similar professional notice or device which includes a deceptive statement or claim.
Announcements which include recognized references to a lawyer's dual status as a certified public accountant and as a lawyer admitted to practice are not "deceptive." These are statements of fact which are objectively ascertainable. The public would comprehend the meaning of these references and their significance in establishing the qualifications of the lawyer. Therefore, the inclusion of these references on business cards and envelopes would not violate DR 2-102. Furthermore, it would not violate any other provision of SJC Rule 3:07.
This opinion supersedes MBA Opinions, Nos. 76-10 and 76-30, decided under a prior version of DR 2-102, insofar as the advice contained therein is inconsistent with this opinion.


Permission to publish granted by the Board of Delegates, January 12, 1982. 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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