PARTNERSHIPS PARTNERSHIP COMPOSED OF LICENSED MEMBER OF THE STATE BAR AND AN OUT-OF-STATE LAWYER A member of the Texas State Bar who is also admitted to practice in the District of Columbia may properly form a partnership with a lawyer admitted to practice in the District of Columbia only, the partnership to practice under a firm name which includes each partner's name, provided the letterheads of the firm indicate the out-of-state lawyer practices only in the District of Columbia office of the firm, and provided there is no other misleading or deceptive circumstance which would lead anyone to believe the out-of-state partner is admitted to practice law in Texas.
Is it a violation of the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar for a lawyer admitted to practice both in Texas and in the District of Columbia to form a partnership with a lawyer admitted to practice in the District of Columbia only, the partnership to practice under the firm name of "Doe and Roe" and to have representation on its letterhead to the effect "Texas Office, John Doe, Austin, Texas" and "Washington, D.C. Office, Richard Roe," each partner to maintain offices within the jurisdiction wherein he is licensed?
The only Canon of the State Bar of Texas that relates to partnerships is Canon 30, and there is nothing in that Canon to condemn the situation inquired about. There is no false or misleading name being used. Also, the letterhead clearly shows the lawyer who is admitted to practice only in the District of Columbia as being at the Washington, D.C. office and not in Texas.
Canon 33 of the American Bar Association provides in part, ". . . where partnerships are formed between lawyers who are not all admitted to practice in the courts of the state, care should be taken to avoid any misleading name or representation which would create a false impression as to the professional position or privileges of the member not locally admitted." ABA Opinion 256, interpreting ABA Canon 33, clearly approved a situation such as herein inquired about, provided the "letterheads, listings, and all other representations of the firm name to the public make it clear which members of the firm are licensed to practice only in Washington, or wherever the branch office may be located." In the situation in question there is no deceptive or misleading circumstance which would lead anyone to believe that "Roe" is admitted to practice law in Texas.
Texas Opinion 50 holds that it is a violation for a firm to carry on its letterhead as an associate a person who is a licensed attorney of another jurisdiction and before the U.S. Patent Office, but who has no license to practice in Texas. Opinion 50 may be distinguished from the present situation since there was no indication on the letterhead that such associate would be in the Washington office rather than in the Texas office. (5-2.)