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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 99

Adopted December 26, 1935

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

"Where a member of a law partnership passes into the Great Beyond, is it proper for the firm name to be continued in the consummation of unfinished business?"

In the inquiry it is further stated, "I desire to continue the use of the firm name as to unfinished business, using it in this manner: Blank and Blank by Blank (surviving partner)".

In response:

Rule 35 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that the continued use of the name of a deceased partner is not permissible. The rule implies that the use of the name of a deceased partner may be continued for a limited period of time. The board construes that period of time to be that necessary in which to wind up the business of the former partnership. No objection, therefore, is seen to the use of the firm name as suggested, for the limited period of time indicated.

Nothing in this opinion, however, should be construed to permit the use of the prior firm name in the transaction of business coming to the surviving member of the partnership; nor to permit the maintenance of the prior firm name on doors, windows, etc.