NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONCommittee on
Opinion #231 - 02/25/1972
Topic: Partnership in two law firms
Digest: A lawyer may be a member of two law firms
Code: DR 5-105 (D); Canon 9
May a lawyer be a member of two different law partnerships?
There is no ethical objection to a lawyer being a partner in two
distinct firms each practicing in a different area. Drinker, Legal
Ethics, 204 (1953); N.Y. City 561 (1941).
Ethical problems relating to the firms involved in such dual
participation may properly be met by the consent of lawyers in both
The relationship to clients and the public would be governed by DR
5-105(D) which would be applicable to both firms and 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."
For such arrangement to be proper there must be a valid reason for
the participation in the two firms and one must not be used to
accomplish what is forbidden to the other or to evade personal
responsibility. Further, since this is an arrangement by lawyers for
lawyers, it is most important that Canon 9 be observed and that even the
appearance of professional impropriety be avoided. See, N.Y. City 431