The attorney for a publicly supported charitable foundation inquires if his name may be listed as counsel to the foundation on its letterhead and in a brochure describing its activities, The attorney prepared the organization papers, attended to required filings with various governmental agencies, obtained tax exempt status, currently attends executive committee meetings in an advisory capacity and has rendered opinions in response to questions relating to the foundation and its legal status.
A lawyer or law firm may be designated as “General Counsel” or by similar professional reference on stationery of a client if he or the firm devotes a substantial amount of professional time in the representation of that client. DR 2-102(A)(4).
This is an exception to the general prohibition against advertising, It should be strictly construed and should be limited to cases where the lawyer currently devotes a substantial amount of professional time to the client’s affairs, Services rendered in the past, however substantial or time consuming, do not of themselves justify the listing of a lawyer on his client’s letterhead.
If listing the lawyer as counsel on the foundation’s letterhead is proper, a similar listing in a brochure describing its activities would also be proper; otherwise not. There can be no difference in principle between the two listings.
September 23, 1974