105 N.J.L.J. 119
February 7, 1980
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Lawyer's Use of C.P.A. on Letterhead
An attorney asks whether it is permissible to designate
on his letterhead that he is also a C.P.A. The New Jersey Supreme Court
Rule Amendments designated DR 2-101, et seq., effective April 1,
1979, were enacted to bring us into substantial compliance with the decision
in Bates v. Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977). DR 2-102(D) says:
A lawyer who is engaged both in the practice of law and another profession or business shall not so indicate on his letterhead, office sign, or professional card, nor shall he identify himself as a lawyer in any publication in connection with his other profession or business.
DR 2-102(E) states:
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit a lawyer from using or permitting the use of, in connection with his name, an earned degree or title derived therefrom indicating his training in the law.
Counsel asks whether, reading the above two sections
together, the use of the C.P.A. designation on the attorney's letterhead
is in conflict with either of them. Is the designation C.P.A. an earned
degree or title derived to therefrom, indicative of a lawyer's training
of the law, requiring that our Opinion 23, 87
N.J.L.J. 19 (1964)
should be modified? We do not think so. In that opinion, we held that a
lawyer/C.P.A. could not state upon his office stationery or his professional
cards that he is also a certified public accountant, and quoted from an
opinion of the Isolation of the Bar, City of New York, Committee on Professional
Ethics, Opinion 788 (1954), as follows:
As for the proposed use of the term "certified public accountant," that in no sense denotes a legal specialty, nor indeed any branch of the law. Reference thereto would constitute an advertisement of qualifications for the practice of a separate and distinct profession, and is therefore disapproved (Canon 27) [Now DR 2-101, 102, 103].
We do not think the Bates decision gives any encouragement for permitting the designation C.P.A. on a lawyer's letterhead. Nor do we think DR 2-102(D) or (E) is helpful to the Inquirer. In fact, it would appear that DR 2-102(D) actually prevents it from being used.
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