Texas law firms restricted on employee job titles

By Shannon Sweeney

10 June 2014 at 12:14 BST

Texan law firms are prohibited from using titles such as CEO, according to a court opinion.

A Texas opinion said firms cannot use "officer" or "principal" to describe non-lawyer job titles.

Titles like "chief executive officer" or "chief technology officer" cannot be used to describe non-lawyer employees in firms in the state of Texas, according to an opinion released by  the Texas Bar's ethics committee. The word "officer" in certain titles indicates the person holding the title has the power to control either the entire law firm or significant areas of the law firm's operations, according to the opinion.


Firms also cannot use the term "principal" for non-lawyer managers because it implies that the employees have an interest in the firm involving control or ownership. Texas ethics rules do not allow for non-lawyers to control a partnership's provision of legal services. The opinion also said a Texas law firm cannot pay bonuses to non-lawyer employees based on its ability to meet a revenue or a profit target, but added that law firms may take revenue and profits into account when deciding to pay bonuses to non-lawyer employees, including the amount of such bonuses. Sources: ABA Journal and Texas Center for Legal Ethics


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