Use of Corporate, Trade, or Fictitious Name


The question arises whether and under what circumstances attorneys may advertise using a corporate, trade, or fictitious name which is not the name or names of the firm, the attorney, or the attorneys in the firm. For example, in reviewing the telephone directory yellow page advertisements, the Committee has observed instances where attorneys have used the letter "A", "AA" or "AAA" as the first word in a name listing with the apparent intent to be in the front or near the front of the "Attorneys" or "Lawyers" section of the yellow pages.


The Committee is of the opinion that it is misleading and deceptive under DR 2-l0l(A) for an attorney or attorneys to advertise using a corporate, trade or fictitious name unless the attorney or attorneys actually practice under such name. The Committee believes that use of a name which is not the name used in the practice is misleading and deceptive as to the identity, responsibility, and status of those using such name. The usage of a corporate, trade, or fictitious name should include, among other things, displaying such name on the letterhead, business cards, and office sign. Furthermore, the usage of such name shall be in compliance with DR 2-l02(B) and shall comply with applicable laws, including Sections l3.l-542 et seq. or Sections 59.l-69 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Opinion of VSB Standing Committee on

Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation

May 26, l993