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109 N.J.L.J. 393
May 6, 1982
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS Appointed by New Jersey Supreme Court
Attorneys Holding Out as
Partners where no real Partnership
We are again asked to determine whether it is proper for two
attorneys to hold themselves out as a partnership when not all of
their work is done in a partnership form.
James Jones, Esq., is conducting the practice of law under the
name of James Jones, attorney-at-law. A substantial portion of his
practice is as house counsel for a liability and casualty carrier
located in the State of New Jersey. Associated with Mr. Jones in
the practice is Mr. Frank Smith who characterizes himself as an
"associate house counsel with this law office."
It is proposed that the firm name be changed to Jones & Smith,
attorneys-at-law. From the form of the inquiry, we conclude that
no partnership in fact exists.
Disciplinary Rule 2-102(b) provides as follows:
A lawyer shall not practice under a name that is
misleading as to the identity, responsibility or status
of those practicing thereunder...
Disciplinary Rule 2-102(C) provides:
A lawyer or a professional corporation shall not hold
himself or itself out as having a partnership with one or
more lawyers or professional corporations unless they are
in fact partners...***
The clear import of these sections is a prohibition against
attorneys holding themselves out as partnerships where no real
partnership in fact exists. See our Opinion 105, 90 N.J.L.J. 53
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