May a lawyer be designated “Of Counsel” on the letterhead of a law firm with which he will share office space as soon as it is available? The lawyer has not heretofore been associated with the firm, and presently maintains his office about a half mile away from the firm’s office.
If the inquiring lawyer is available to the firm for consultation and advice on a regular and continuing basis it would not be improper for him to be listed as “Of Counsel” on the firm s letterhead. DR 2-102(A)(4) provides that “A lawyer may be designated ‘Of Counsel’ on a letterhead if he has a continuing relationship with a lawyer or law firm, other than as a partner or associate. The words “continuing relationship” as used in DR 2-102(A) (4) have been interpreted as connoting “a close, daily, in-house association”. ABA Inf 1173 (1971), ABA Inf 1189 (1971); N.Y State 262 (1972). Without passing on that interpretation, it is our opinion that in the particular circumstances described in the inquiry, where the lawyer plans to occupy space with the firm as soon as it can be had and meanwhile maintains his office within the same geographical area in which the firm’s office is located, it is possible for him to have “a continuing relationship” with the firm within the meaning of the Rule. Accordingly, if he has such a relationship, it would be permissible to designate him “Of Counsel” on the firm s letterhead. See ABA Inf 1173 (1971) supra.
June 13, 1974.