A retired judge has become associated with a law firm as counsel. The firm asks whether it can identify the judge on its stationery as Hon._, Counsel.”‘
It would be improper for the firm to identify the retired judge on its stationery as “‘Hon._, Counsel.”‘
Use of the prefix “‘Hon.” ‘before the judge’s name clearly would suggest that he holds, or has held, some public office or other special position, probably judicial. This violates rules of long standing designed to guard against self-touting by lawyers in their contacts with the public. DR 2-102(A) prohibits the use of any letterheads other than those in dignified form that identify the lawyer by name and as a lawyer, give his address, his telephone numbers, the name of his law firm, members and associates, certain specified additional data, and any information permitted under DR 2-105. DR 2-105 is not here applicable as it deals with situations under which a lawyer may hold himself out publicly as a specialist or as limiting his practice. The Bar has long been alert to prohibit any device by which a lawyer may by his letterhead suggest that he has special competence or that his ability is assured by his achievements. As was said in Drinker, Legal Ethics (1953) at page 229:
“‘It (the letterhead) may not contain a statement that the lawyer is an M.D, or a C.P.A., tax consultant, Doctor of Jurisprudence or other degrees, Mayor of _____, Governor or United States Senator, former District Attorney, or specify other occupations in which he is engaged, or that he is a member of the American Bar Association, or other bar associations, or that he is admitted in another state; or specify as a branch practiced Medical Legal Law. Medical Jurisprudence, or any other branch practiced, including patent law prior to the 1951 amendment, or state that he is consulting counsel to other lawyers on constitutional cases,”‘
This statement is amply supported by the opinions of this Association the Association of the. Bar of the City of New York, and the American Bar Association, that it cites and to which we also refer. The injunction against, showing academic degrees has been lifted in part by DR 2-102 (F) which now permits references to an earned degree or title derived therefrom indicating the lawyer’s training in the law, however it still remains as to other degrees, and there has been no relaxing of the injunction against other statements that might be construed as self laudation or the claim of special expertise.
November 16, 1972.