SBM - State Bar of Michigan


December 20, 1982


    If a lawyer is identified by name it is ethical to combine an advertisement for tax services and tax attorney services under a trade name such as "XYZ Income Tax Service."

    References: CI-646; ABA Op 328; Supreme Court Admin Order 1978-4.


A lawyer wishes to place an advertisement under the "tax return preparation" section of the yellow pages that contains the name of a tax service, such as "XYZ Income Tax Service . . . Tax Attorney Available."

This Committee, on a number of occasions, has opined that it is unethical for lawyers to utilize a fictitious or assumed trade name without identifying the lawyer that is associated with the enterprise. CI-646. However, if the attorney is identified by name in the advertisement, it would be permissible. There is no ethical prohibition to an attorney advertising as the "Alma Advocate" or the "Livonia Litigator" as a trade name so long as he identified himself by his own name in the advertisement. Supreme Court Admin Order 1978-4.

It is noted that the combining of a tax preparation service with the rendering of tax advice as a legal service is permissible, though not recommended because of the numerous possibilities for confusion between the roles of tax accountant and tax attorney, and the dangers such role confusion may present to the public. ABA Op 328.