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                                     109 N.J.L.J. 393
                                    May 6, 1982


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 (1967).


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