Messrs. A and 3 are both members of the bar. Before being admitted to the bar they were engaged in other businesses which they conducted under a tradename, and which they continued to operate after becoming lawyers.
Mr. B is a licensed public accountant and a duly licensed general insurance broker. Hr. A is a duly licensed life insurance agent and real estate broker.
After being admitted to the bar they formed a partnership known as A & S and opened their present office consisting of four separate offices and a library, and continued to carry on the
The lawyer must have in mind not only the avoidance of a relation which will obviously and presently involve the duty to contend for one client what his duty to the other presently requires him to oppose, but also the probability or possibility that such a situation will develop. In such cases, even though the clients both consent to the assumption of the relation, the lawyer may eventually regret that he did not initially refuse to represent both of them.
Here (F) with full knowledge of the facts and in consultation with his first attorney, has conceded that he is liable to (T) in the event of a recovery by (E) which would result in a recovery by (B) against (T), and (F) has requested (T)’s attorney to represent his interests in the litigation. No lack of disclosure or conflict of interests or disclosure of confidential information exists, and it would be entirely proper for the same attorney to represent both (T) and (F) in this litigation.
Separate business ventures in the same office but under distinct and separate titles not relating to law. Each business has its own stationery and filing systems, conducted separately and apart from each other – none are commingled.
Last fall, Mr, B, who is a brother-in-law of Mr, A, resigned from the law firm and became an employee of a firm of certified public accountants. He has since received no share of the earnings of the law firm but the firm name A &. B has been continued on a temporary basis.
Hr. A propounds the following question: “If an attorney is actively and legally engaged in more than one business beside the practice of law at the same location, what guide line of ethical legal conduct can be followed in such an instance?
Two questions are involved:
Whether Messrs, A and B can under the circumstances properly continue the use of the partnership name; and
Whether the various businesses in which Mr. A is engaged may be carried or, from the same offices from which he practices law.
The use of partnership names is governed by Canon 33 which prohibits the use of any false or misleading name.
In view of the fact that no partnership exists between Messrs. A and B, it is improper for them to continue to use a partnership name, See Drinker, Legal Ethics, page 204, where he says: “They may not hold themselves out as a partnership where no real partnership in fact exists.
See also Opinion No, 170 where we disapproved the use of a firm name where one of the partners was inactive and was not participating in the professional practice.
Continued use of the firm name is disapproved.
The guideline of ethical legal conduct in the situation presented by the questions appears in the answer by this Committee to Question #519 (21 Mew York County Lawyers Association Bar Bulletin No, 4, pages 188-189), We there said, in answer to an inquiry as to whether a lawyer could engage in business as a theatrical business manager, after referring to Drinker’s Legal Ethics (pp. 221-228) and prior opinions of the Committee (Nos. 114, 179, 295, 482, 497 and 498, the following:
“A lawyer who engages in a separate business as a business manager need not abandon the practice of law, but he may advertise to solicit new clients as a business manager only if he Deforms no law business for such clients, and conducts his law practice from an address separate the headquarters of his other business.”
May 18, 1964