OBA Ethics Counsel
Ethics Opinion No. 263
Adopted May 22, 1971
An opinion has been requested as to whether it is permissible for lawyers who are members of a professional corporation to list in the local telephone directory the name of the professional corporation followed with the abbreviation "Inc.".
The Oklahoma "Professional Corporation Act" 18 Okla.St.1961, § 801 et seq., requires at § 807 the name of every professional corporation organized under the Act to end with the words "Corporation" or "Incorporated" or the abbreviations "Corp." or "Inc.". The statute also provides that each of the "regulating boards" may by rule adopt further requirements as to the names of professional corporations organized to render a professional service within the jurisdiction of such "regulating board".
A "regulating board" is defined in § 803(c) as "the board which is charged with the licensing and regulation of the practice of the profession which the professional corporation is organized to render."
The Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 2, Disciplinary Rules, DR 2_ 102(B) provides:
"A lawyer in private practice shall not practice under a trade name, a name that is misleading as to the identity of the lawyer or lawyers practicing under such name, or a firm name containing names other than those of one or more of the lawyers in the firm, except that the name of a professional corporation or professional association may contain 'P.C.' or 'P.A.' or similar symbols indicating the nature of the organization, ..."
The Code was adopted, with minor amendments not pertinent here, by the Oklahoma Supreme Court effective January 1, 1970. Supreme Court Orders SCBD 2212 and 2213 (40 OBAJ 2744, 2745).
It is, therefore, the opinion of the Committee that such a corporation may properly be listed in the classified and alphabetical sections of the telephone directory covering the area in which the corporation's office is located, and that such listing may end with either the abbreviation "Corp." or "Inc.".
If such a corporation elects to have such listings, it shall not be further listed in the telephone directory in any other manner. This limitation does not preclude authorized individual listings of attorneys who are employees of the professional corporation.
Any listing of a professional corporation is subject to the same restrictions as to appearance, style, content, location and form as are listings for other law firms which are not professional corporations.