OPINION 136
September 1956

CONCURRENT PRACTICE OF LAW AND ACCOUNTING – PARTNERSHIPS -- Although a lawyer may properly use his accounting knowledge in connection with his law practice, if he holds himself out as a practicing accountant, he should not hold himself as a lawyer at the same time. Partnerships between attorneys and members of other professions are prohibited where part of the partnership employment consists of the practice of law.

Canon 30A.B.A. Canon 33.

Question

May an attorney who holds himself out as practicing law concurrently practice professional accounting provided that is properly licensed by the state board as a lawyer and as a certified public accountant?

Opinion

This inquiry presents an interesting question. Members of the committee have written some very enlightening opinions thereon, and it is regrettable that this opinion cannot be enlarged to include much of the fine reasoning expressed by the members.

It seems to be the consensus of opinion that it does not violate the Canons of Ethics for a lawyer to use his accounting knowledge and experience in connection with his law practice. However, if he holds himself out as a practicing accountant, he should not hold himself out as a lawyer.

In Opinion 269, the American Bar Association held that a lawyer cannot form a partnership with an accountant without ceasing to hold himself out as a lawyer.

Also, one member of the committee feels that a lawyer who practices accounting in connection with his law practice should practice by himself. If he is a member of a law firm, our Opinion No.128 would apply because, as an accountant he would be in partnership with others who are lawyers only and that would violate Canon 33 of the Canons of Ethics of the American Bar Association. (9-0)