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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 183

Adopted July 13, 1955

QUERY

Can a firm adopt and use the name of John Doe and Associates?

ANSWER

Canon 33 reads in part:

"... In the selection and use of a firm name, no false, misleading, assumed or trade name should be used ...".

Under the above Canon the American Bar Association has held the use of the above firm name to be improper. See Drinker's Legal Ethics, pp. 207 and 303, numbers 373 and 374.

The Oregon State Bar Association in its opinion No. 39 said:

"... the use of the term 'associates' is misleading ... such forms of trade names are undignified and unprofessional for lawyers."

The Washington State Bar took the same position in March of 1955.

It is improper to use such firm designation.