State Bar of Michigan
home member area contact us


 print this page

for members
SBM general information

member directory

admissions, ethics, and

diversity & inclusion

justice initiatives

member services

practice management
   resource center

public policy resource

publications and

research and links

sections & committees

ethics for members
ethics developments
ethics opinions
TAON (trust accounts)

from the courts
opinion searching
virtual court

for the public
public resources
media resources

giving opportunities
a lawyer helps
access to justice

Ethics Opinion

print this page


July 19, 1982


    A certified public accountant who is also an attorney may list both on professional cards, letterhead, and office signs.

    References: MCPR DR 2-102(E); Supreme Court Admin Order 1978-4, 1979-7. Op 124 is superseded.


A lawyer who is also a certified public accountant asks whether it is permissible to list both facts on law firm letterhead, signs, and professional cards.

MCPR DR 2-102(E) specifically forbids the action, but has been superseded by Supreme Court by Admin Orders 1978-4 and 1979-7 which permit any form of public communication that is not false, fraudulent, misleading or deceptive.

It is noted that ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.5 would specifically approve the identification of a practitioner as both an attorney and a CPA under the rationale that "to the extent that such information is truthful, it is helpful to consumers." The Comment further notes that identifying an attorney as a CPA does "not indicate special competence as a lawyer (in the field of taxation), but competence as defined and evaluated by the other profession (CPA) involved." Thus, there would not technically be a violation of the Rule prohibiting the holding-out of one as a specialist in a field other than admiralty or patent law.

In 1949 this Comittee held that such a practice would be unethical because accountants were allowed to advertise and lawyers were not; this created "the vice of allowing the same individual to engage in a business (accountancy) where advertising is permitted while at the same time practicing a profession (law) where advertising is strictly forbidden," Op 124. However, now that lawyers are permitted to advertise, it is obvious that the rationale of the 1949 Opinion no longer applies.



follow us
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow the SBM Blog


©Copyright 2015

website links
Contact Us
Site Map
Website Privacy Statement PDF
Staff Links

SBM on the Mapcontact information
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248