Legal Ethics Opinion 1376

Advertising and Solicitation--Name of Law Firm: Retaining Retired
Partner's Name in Firm Name

You have indicated that you retired from the practice of law
effective January l, l990 and that you established legal
residence out of state.  You further advise the committee that
your former firm wishes to retain your name within the firm name
while showing you on the letterhead as "Retired," and that you
will no longer have any financial or other interest in the firm's
business.  Finally, you indicate that you expect to transfer your
Virginia State Bar membership to a "Retired" status.

You have asked that the committee opine as to the propriety of
your former firm retaining your name.

The appropriate and controlling disciplinary rule to the question
you raise is DR 2-l0l(A) which prohibits a lawyer or law firm
from using or participating in the use of any form of public
communication if such communication contains a false, fraudulent,
misleading, or deceptive statement or claim.  In addition,
Disciplinary Rule 2-l02(B) indicates that the name of a lawyer
holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a law

Further guidance is available through Ethical Consideration 2-l3
which, in pertinent part, finds that the practice of a law firm's
use of a firm name retaining the name of a retired partner is not
improper if (l) the firm is a bona fide successor of a firm in
which the retired person was a member; (2) the use of the name is
authorized by law or by contract; and (3) the public is not
misled thereby.  Furthermore, EC 2-l3 also indicates that the
name of a partner who 
withdraws from a firm but continues to practice law [elsewhere]
should be omitted from the firm name in order to avoid misleading
the public.

The committee is of the opinion that the continued use of the
retired partner's name in the firm's name along with the
indication that the named partner has retired are not improper
provided that the retired partner practiced with the firm up to
the time of his retirement and so long as the retired partner
does not assume public office or practice law elsewhere.  The
committee believes that such a use of the retired lawyer's name
serves as informational and archival and does not rise to the
level of maintenance of "an association" with the firm as
proscribed by the requirements of the retired status of VSB

Committee Opinion
September 13, 1990