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Firm Names

Naming a firm is often one of the first orders of business when opening a new practice or consolidating 2 or more existing practices. The firm name must adhere to rules 8.06 and 8.07 and generally to the restrictions on marketing and advertising.

Rule 8.06 places a prohibition on firm names that are misleading to the public. Similarly, the letterhead used by a firm cannot be misleading to the public.

The possibilities for firm names are set out in rule 8.07. It states that a lawyer who carries on the practice of law shall do so under:

  • the member’s name,
  • the name of existing or former partners or associates, or
  • the name of the original or founding partners and associates,
  • the name of existing or former voting shareholders or directors, in the case of a professional law corporation,
  • in the case of an interjurisdictional law firm, one or more given names or surnames of
    • practising members of the Law Society of the province or any other province or territory in Canada,
    • former members of the Law Society of the province or any other province or territory in Canada that otherwise comply with rule 8.08,
  • any combination of the above, or
  • a descriptive or trade name as long as
    • the name or a similar name is not used elsewhere in the province; and
    • that the public will not be led to believe by mistake that the member or firm is associated or affiliated elsewhere in Canada with other firms or the members of those firms.

Rule 8.07(2) provides further restrictions in that a firm may not include any language that misrepresents the number of lawyers in a firm and specifically notes that phrases such as “and associates”, “and associate”, “and partners”, “and company” are not permitted when there is only one lawyer in the firm.

In addition, the name of professional law corporations must contain the words “professional law corporation” or the abbreviation “PLC” (paragraph 63.4(1)(d) of the Law Society Act, 1999).


Misleading Firm Names: rule 8.06 (Law Society Rules)

Firm Names and Letterhead: rule 8.07 (Law Society Rules)

Identification of Deceased or Former Members or Students: rule 8.08 (Law Society Rules)

Preferred Areas of Practice: rule 8.10 (Law Society Rules)

Corporate License: paragraph 63.4(1)(d) (Law Society Act, 1999)

Related Topics:

Law Office Organization and Administration

Professional Law Corporations: Part III.1 (Law Society Act, 1999)

Marketing: section 4.2 (Code of Professional Conduct)

(Posted: June 12, 2020)