Inclusion of Non-Licensed Attorneys in Legal Directory
Opinion rules that a firm with offices only in North Carolina may not properly submit biographical information for publication concerning attorneys in the firm who are not licensed in North Carolina.
MH Inc. publishes addresses and biographical information concerning attorneys and law firms. Information concerning law firms appears in the MH Inc. publication by geographic location. As to firms with offices in North Carolina and other states, MH Inc. includes information about all attorney members of the firm, including those not licensed in North Carolina. May MH Inc. publish biographical sketches of attorneys who are members of firms which maintain offices only in North Carolina, if the attorneys are not admitted to the North Carolina Bar and confine their practice exclusively to the federal courts?
The Ethics Committee of the North Carolina State Bar has no authority to regulate MH Inc., a non-attorney. At most, the committee can advise what information attorneys may properly submit to MH Inc. for publication. Rule 2.3(c) provides that a law firm maintaining offices in North Carolina may not list the name of an attorney not licensed to practice in the state on its letterhead or in its firm name. The comment to the Rule makes it clear that this prohibition applies to any "firm communication." Therefore, a firm with offices only in North Carolina may not properly submit biographical information to MH Inc. concerning attorneys in the firm who are not licensed in North Carolina.