Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, a Texas law firm may not use “officer” or “principal” in the job titles for non-lawyer employees of the firm.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct also prohibit a Texas law firm from paying or agreeing to pay specified bonuses to non-lawyer employees contingent upon the firm’s achieving a specified level of revenue or profit. A Texas law firm may, however, consider its revenue, expenses, and profit in determining whether to pay bonuses to non-lawyer employees and the amount of such bonuses.
What is the problem that the Texas Center for Legal Ethics is attempting to correct?
While most likely a plaintiff’s firm or SEO marketing company pissed somebody off, the following questions posed could apply to any corporate law firm:
1. May a Texas law firm include the terms “officer” or “principal” in the job titles of the firm’s non-lawyer employees?
2. May a Texas law firm pay or agree to pay specified bonuses to non-lawyer employees contingent upon the firm’s achieving a specified amount of revenue or profit?
In other words, let’s just prevent a law firm from, gasp, attempting to act like a business.