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                                             96 N.J.L.J. 463
                                            April 19, 1973


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Leasing Space to Out-of-State Law Firm

    The inquirer asks whether it would be unethical for him to lease space in his office suite to a New York law firm specializing in longshoremen's and harbor workers' claims against their employers. We are asked to assume that the New York firm would use the space to interview clients, witnesses, etc. on an appointment basis and without any intention of practicing before state or federal courts in New Jersey. It appears that the forum for the hearing of longshoremen's and harbor workers' claims is located in New York, and it is stated that the New York firm does not intend to "practice law" in New Jersey. The New York firm, if allowed, wishes to place its name on the door and in the building directory identifying the firm as being of the New York Bar.
    We express no opinion as to whether, on the basis of the very general premises set forth in the inquiry, the New York firm would be "practicing law" in New Jersey, this question does not lie within the jurisdiction of this Committee.
    The specific problem presented which lies squarely within the function of this Committee is the question of the use of the name of the New York firm on the building directory and on the door to the suite. Reference may profitably be made to the authorities collected in Drinker, Legal Ethics 230. 231 (1953).

    In our view, considering all of the circumstances set forth, it is not permissible to enter into any lease arrangement with an out-of-state law firm where, as here, the general public would be justified in regarding the premises as constituting the New Jersey office of the out-of-state law firm, particularly where the inference of association between the New Jersey practitioner and the out-of-state law firm would be inescapable.

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