Have Questions? Contact Us.
Since its inception, NYCLA has been at the forefront of most legal debates in the country. We have provided legal education for more than 40 years.
Is it proper for a lawyer, who has purchased the law library, furniture, fixtures and equipment contained in the office of a recently retired lawyer, to send announcement cards reciting his removal to such office, followed by the words “‘Formerly occupied by _________________Esq., now retired”‘, if the retired lawyer consents?
The proposed announcement is improper. DR 2-102(A)(2) provides in pertinent part as follows:
“‘A lawyer or law firm shall not use, . . . professional announcement cards . . . except that the following may be used if they are in dignified form:
“‘(2) A brief professional announcement card stating new or changed associations or addresses, change of firm name, or similar matters pertaining to the professional office of a lawyer or law firm, which may be mailed to lawyers , clients, former clients, personal friends and relatives. It shall not state, biographical data except to the extent reasonably necessary to identify the lawyer or to explain the change in his association, but it may state the immediate past position of the lawyer, It may give the names and dates of predecessor firms in a continuing line of succession. It shall not state the nature of the practice, except as permitted under DR 2.-105.”‘
There is nothing in DR 2-102(A)(2), supra, to warrant the inclusion in the removal announcement of the name of a retiring or retired lawyer solely because he had been the occupant of the office to which the removal has been or is to be made, The continued use of the name of a retired lawyer in a firm name is not improper if the firm is a bona fide successor of a firm in which the retired person was a member, and then only if the continued use of his name is authorized by law or by contract and if the public is not misled thereby. EC 2-11.
The use of the name of the retiring or retired lawyer as the former occupant of the office in question carries with it a suggestion that the new occupant is the successor in an undefined way to the retired lawyer and could, for that reason, be misleading to laymen.
November 16, 1972.