Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline Opinions Released

OPINION 2006-1

Issued February 10, 2006

SYLLABUS: A full-time judge or full-time magistrate may not maintain or use an active license as a real estate salesperson. A licensed real estate salesperson must affiliate with a broker to maintain an active license and must fulfill fiduciary duties when representing real estate clients. A full-time judge or full-time magistrate cannot fulfill these conditions without violating Canon 2(C)(3) and Canon 4(D)(1).

A part-time judge or part-time magistrate is not subject to Canon 2(C)(3) and Canon 4(D)(1) and therefore may maintain and use an active license as a real estate salesperson, provided the real estate activities do not result in violations of any other provisions of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct or any provisions of Ohio Ethics Law. Most significantly, the activities must not exploit the judicial position; must not involve the judge or magistrate in frequent transactions or business relationships with lawyers or other persons likely to come before the court; must not interfere with the performance of judicial duties; and must not take place in the court, occur during court hours, or use court resources or personnel. Compensation for activities as a licensed real estate salesperson must be reported pursuant to Canon 2(D)(3)(a) on the annual financial disclosure statement.

OPINION 2006-2

Issued February 10, 2006

SYLLABUS: It is proper for a solo practitioner to name his or her law firm “The X Law Group” when “X” is the solo practitioner’s surname and “X” employs one or more attorney as associates. “Group” and “Law Group” are not considered misleading or a trade name when used in naming a law firm comprised of more than one attorney. “Group” or “Law Group” should not be used in a law firm name to refer to paralegals, other non-attorney personnel, office sharing attorneys, or “of counsel” attorneys.

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