These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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55-Firm Names and Letterhead

A law firm may continue to use a deceased or retired partner's name in its title. Although declining to indicate whether a lawyer who has only been an independent contractor of a firm may continue to use the firm's name after all of the firm's partners retire (calling the question a "legal issue") the Bar refers to a Maryland LEO indicating that such use would be improper. As long as the lawyer was a "successor in interest" to the firm, the lawyer could continue to use a deceased partner's name in the firm name. Although sole practitioners may not use words like "group" or "associates" in their firm's names, using a deceased lawyer's name is acceptable as long as the firm's letterhead indicates that the other lawyer is deceased.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn