NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONCommittee on
Opinion #388 - 05/13/1975
Topic: Law practice as both partner and individual
Digest: Not improper for partner to practice as an individual if
valid reason exists for such practice and care is taken to avoid
Code: EC 2-11, 2-13; DR 2-102(B), (C); 5-105(D)
May a member of a law firm individually represent particular clients
and use his own stationery which lists the same address as the
An attorney may practice law under his own name or in a partnership,
but he should avoid the use of a name that could mislead laymen. EC
2-11, EC 2-13, DR 2-102(8) and (C). Assuming a valid reason for the
attorney's dual practice as a partner and as an individual lawyer, e.g.,
the attorney is not attempting to accomplish as an individual some end
that is forbidden him by his participation in the partnership, the
attorney's individual representation of clients at the offices occupied
by the attorney's partnership would not be improper so long as the
clients understand that the attorney and not the partnership is
representing them. The attorney should also take any affirmative steps
necessary to prevent confusion in the minds of clients as to whether
they are being represented by the attorney individually or by the
partnership. N.Y. City 868 (1965).
The partnership and the attorney must be careful to observe DR 5-105
(D), which provides:
"If a lawyer is required to decline employment or to withdraw from
employment under DR 5-105, no partner or associate of his or his firm
may accept or continue such employment.'
Therefore the attorney should not in his individual capacity
represent a client whose interests are adverse to a client represented
by the partnership or by any partner or associate of the partnership.
Such representation would be contrary to DR 5-105(D), and would also be
inconsistent with Canon 9 requiring that even title appearance of
professional impropriety be avoided. N.Y. State 231 (1972).