Ohio R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.5

As amended through August 24, 2021
Rule 7.5 - Firm Names and Letterheads
(a) A lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1. A lawyer in private practice shall not practice under a name that is misleading as to the identity of the lawyer or lawyers practicing under the name, or a firm name containing surnames other than those of one or more of the lawyers in the firm, except that the name of a professional corporation or association, legal clinic, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership shall contain symbols indicating the nature of the organization as required by Gov. Bar R. III. If otherwise lawful, a firm may use as, or continue to include in, its name the surname of one or more deceased or retired members of the firm or of a predecessor firm in a continuing line of succession.
(b) A lawfirm with offices in more than one jurisdiction that lists attorneys associated with the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in Ohio.
(c) The name of a lawyer holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a lawfirm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.
(d) Lawyers may state or imply that they practice in a partnership or other organization only when that is the fact.

Comment

[1] A firm may be designated by the names of all or some of its members or by the names of deceased members where there has been a continuing succession in the firm's identity. The letterhead of a law firm may give the names and dates of predecessor firms in a continuing line of succession. A lawyer or law firm may also be designated by a distinctive website address or comparable professional designation. The use of the surname of a deceased partner to designate law firms is a useful means of identification. However, it is misleading to use the name of a lawyer not associated with the firm or a predecessor of the firm or the name of a nonlawyer.
[2] With regard to division (d), lawyers sharing office facilities, but who are not in fact associated with each other in a law firm, may not denominate themselves as, for example, "Smith and Jones," for that title suggests that they are practicing law together in a firm. The use of a disclaimer such as "not a partnership" or "an association of sole practitioners" does not render the name or designation permissible.
[3] A lawyer may be designated "Of Counsel" if the lawyer has a continuing relationship with a lawyer or law firm, other than as a partner or associate.
[4] A legal clinic operated by one or more lawyers may be organized by the lawyer or lawyers for the purpose of providing standardized and multiple legal services. The name of the law office may include the phrase "legal clinic" or words of similar import. The name of any active lawyer in the clinic may be retained in the name of the legal clinic after the lawyer's death, retirement, or inactivity because of age or disability, and the name must otherwise conform to other provisions of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio. The legal clinic cannot be owned by, and profits or losses cannot be shared with, nonlawyers or lawyers who are not actively engaged in the practice of law in the organization.

Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility

With the exception of DR 2-102(E) and (F), Rule 7.5 is comparable to DR 2-102.

The provisions of DR 2-102(E), which prohibits truthful statements about a lawyer's actual businesses and professions, are not included in Rule 7.5. The Rules of Professional Conduct should not preclude truthful statements about a lawyer's professional status, other business pursuits, or degrees.

DR 2-102(F) is an exception to DR 2-102(E) and is unnecessary in light of the decision to not retain DR 2-102(E).

Comment [3] is substantially the same as the Ohio provision on the "of counsel" designation.

Comment [4] addresses the restrictions of DR 2-102(G) relative to operating a "legal clinic" and using the designation "legal clinic."

Ohio. R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.5