LEO: Nonlawyer: Listing Legislative LE Op. 1288
Nonlawyer: Listing Legislative Administrator on Firm Letterhead.
October 19, 1989
A lawyer wishes to know whether it is ethically permissible to list on a
law firm's letterhead stationery a nonlawyer, who recently became
affiliated with the firm to administer and assist in the firm's
legislative activities, where his nonlawyer status with the firm is
identified as "Legislative Administrator" on the stationery.
The appropriate and controlling rule relative to your inquiry is DR:2-
101(A) which provides that a lawyer shall not, on behalf of himself or any
other lawyer affiliated with him in his firm, use or participate in the
use of any form of public communication if such communication contains a
false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement or claim.
Disciplinary Rule 2-102(A) [ DR:2-102] also provides that the use of
professional cards, announcement cards, office sign, letterhead and other
similar professional notice is permissible unless it contains a statement
or claim that is false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive.
Accordingly, the Committee directs your attention to LE Op. 970, LE Op.
909 and LE Op. 767, which in the Committee's view is dispositive of the
issue you have raised. The opinions state that it is not improper for a
law firm to place the name of a chief investigator, certified public
accountant or other nonlawyer personnel on one side of the law firm's
stationery as long as an affirmative statement is added which makes clear
that such lay personnel is not licensed to practice law ( DR:2-101(A)).
Therefore, the Committee would opine that it would not be improper to
place on a law firm's stationery the name of the legislative administrator
and identifying him as such provided that a disclaimer clearly indicating
that he/she is not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction is also
made. The Committee cautions that all lawyers in the office abide by the
general proscriptions in Canon 3 concerning aiding a nonlawyer in the
unauthorized practice of law. (See DR:3-104(B))
Committee Opinion October 19, 1989