Ethics Opinion 1974-5

February 26, 1974



May a certified law clerk use a business card identifying him as such and identifying the supervising attorney?


The proposed format appears to be contrary to the explicit provisions of Rule VIII (B).


Rule VIII of the State Bar of California, as amended October 26, 1972 provides that:

A. A student's name may properly:

(1) Be printed or typed on briefs, pleadings and other similar documents on which the student has worked with or under the direction of the supervising lawyer, provided the student is clearly identified as a student certified under the Rules, and provided further that a student shall not sign his name to such briefs, pleadings or other similar documents.

(2) Be signed to letters written on the supervising lawyer's letterhead which relate to the student's supervised work, provided there appears below his signature a clear identification that he is certified under these Rules, such as "Certified Law Student under the Supervision of _________" (supervising lawyer.)

B. A student's name may not appear:

(1) On the letterhead of a supervising lawyer;

(2) On a business card bearing the name of a supervising lawyer; or

(3) On a business card identifying the student as certified under these Rules.


The conduct of certified law students is strictly governed by the State Bar of California. In allowing law students to engage in legal work, the State Bar promulgated a set of narrow rules as to the conduct of the student and the required supervision by an attorney.

Rule VIII(B) of the State Bar of California's rules governing the practical training of law students, as amended, states that a student's name may not appear on the letterhead of a supervising attorney, nor on a business card bearing the name of a supervising attorney, nor on the business card identifying the student as certified under the rules.

This opinion is advisory only. It is not binding upon the State Bar, the Board of Governors, its agents or employees.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Committee reviewed this opinion on October 22, 1976 and found that it reflects the present status of the law in this area.


Disclaimer: This opinion was issued by the Legal Ethics Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association. It is advisory only and is not binding upon any member of the SDCBA, any other member of the State Bar of California, the State Bar of California or its Board of Governors, or any persons or tribunals charged with regulatory responsibilities. The SDCBA, its officers, directors, agents, and the Legal Ethics Committee members assume no responsibility or liability in rendering this opinion.