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                                         105 N.J.L.J. 119
                                        February 7, 1980


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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