Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 175

Adopted December 9, 1953

The Ethics Committee submitted Advisory Opinion No. 162, which was adopted by the Central Committee and published in the Journal. Since publication of the opinion, our attention has been called to the fact that we completely overlooked a Statute which is controlling of the question, therefore, Opinion No. 162 must be withdrawn.

The facts in that case were as follows:

A and B were partners in the general practice of law. A held two offices, one as a Justice of Peace, and the other as Police Judge. Two questions were considered:

1. Can A and B remain partners in all courts other than the justice of the peace court and police court, and

2. Can B file cases in A’s Justice of the Peace Court when such cases are B’s separate cases and not those of the partnership.

The Statute which was overlooked is 21 Okl. St. Ann. ss 560 and 561.

The first section reads in part:

“Any justice of the peace who shall office with any attorney at law … shall be punished by a fine … or imprisonment in the county jail ….”

The next Section provides that if he offices with another lawyer he “forfeits his office”.

By virtue of the above Statute, since an attorney at law cannot office with a justice of the peace, he certainly cannot be a partner, and therefore both the above questions must be answered in the negative.