With each renewal application, OBLIC requires a sample of the current letterhead. While OBLIC is not the “ethics police,” we want to assist our policyholders in complying with the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically Rules 7.1 and 7.5.
- Rule 7.1 requires that “[A] lawyer shall not make or use a false, misleading, or nonverifiable communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services.” Rule 7.5, in pertinent part, provides that, “[A] lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1.”
- Rule 7.5 further provides that, “[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 the name, or a firm name containing names other than those of one or more of the lawyers in the firm.”
- Rule 7.5 also requires that “the name of a professional corporation or association, legal clinic, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership shall contain symbols indicating the nature of the organization as required by Gov. Bar R. III.”
This means that lawyers can’t use a trade name and if your firm is incorporated as a legal professional association, you must indicate “Co., L.P.A.” on your letterhead or the other applicable nature of organization listed in Gov. Bar R. III. If you have any questions about your letterhead, please feel free to contact us at OBLIC.