104 N.J.L.J. 561
December 27, 1979
Lawyers Acting "Of Counsel"
to More than One Firm
The following inquiry has been presented: Is there any
impropriety in an attorney, including one retired from judicial
office, service "Of Counsel" to more than one law firm?
The proposed association contemplates the assistance as "Of Counsel" of a retired Superior Court Judge, who is presently "Of Counsel" to a firm in one county, to a firm shortly to be formed in another county. In recent years, it has been a common and accepted practice in this jurisdiction for a retired judge to act "Of Counsel" to a law firm.
Prior to the amendment of DR 2-102 effective April 1, 1979, paragraph (4) stated: The letterhead of a law firm may also give the names of members and associates, and names and dates relating to deceased and retired members. 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.
There is no prohibition in revised DR 2-102 against an attorney acting "Of Counsel." DR 2-102(B) which applies to the situation provides: "A lawyer shall not practice under a name that
is misleading as to the identity, responsibility or status of those practicing thereunder, or is otherwise false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive within the meaning of DR 2-101(B) or is contrary to law."
There is no legal or ethical prohibition against a lawyer being a member of more than one law firm; nor is there any prohibition against a lawyer acting "Of Counsel" to more than one law firm, providing that such association complies with and is conducted in every respect in accordance with all applicable disciplinary rules.