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Legal Ethics

Ohio Ethics Opinion Says Law Firm Can’t Have ‘IP’ in Title

Posted Feb 18, 2010 11:46 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Ohio ethics opinion has put the kibosh on an idea for a descriptive law firm name.

A lawyer wanted to combine his surname with the words “IP” to show his intellectual property experience. But a Feb. 5 advisory opinion (PDF) by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline saw ethical problems.

Including an area of practice or specialization in a law firm name constitutes a trade name—and trade names are barred by the ethics rules, the opinion said. That means words such as “patent law," “personal injury law” and “criminal defense law” cannot be part of a law firm name, according to the opinion.

Hat tip to the Legal Profession Blog.

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