Ethics Opinions

RENDERED January 29, 1986
AMENDED April 06, 2013

ADVERTISING - FIRM NAME - LETTERHEAD - It is not improper for an attorney licensed to practice another profession, but not actively engaged in that profession, to include a designation of his other professional licensure on his letterhead, business cards and in advertisements for his law practice.

The Ethics Committee of the Mississippi Bar has been requested to address the following question:

Would the inclusion of the words "Registered Professional Engineer" in the letterhead, business card, advertisement, etc. be proper if done by a sole practitioner who is engaged solely in the practice of law, is a Registered Professional Engineer licensed to practice engineering in the State of Mississippi, intends to become a Patent Attorney, and intends to concentrate his practice in engineering-related or technically oriented areas of the law?

Rule 7.1 of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC") prohibits any form of public communication that is "false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair." The Rules do not specify every permissible or impermissible practice.

The attorney making this request intends to engage in one of the three legal "specialties" expressly recognized by Rule 7.6(b), MRPC, those being patent, trademark, and admiralty law.

Rule 7.6(b), MRPC, provides:

a lawyer may state or imply as follows:

(1) A lawyer who is admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation "patent attorney" or a substantially similar designation; or
(2) A lawyer engaged in admiralty practice may use the designation "admiralty," "proctor in admiralty; or a substantially similar designation.