Use of Abbreviations by Limited Liability Companies, Limited Liability
Partnerships and Professional Limited Liability Companies
In light of recent legislation that has been adopted in the District
of Columbia, law firms organized as limited liability companies, limited
liability partnerships, or professional limited liability companies are
no longer limited to using the designation, “limited liability company,”
“limited liability partnership,” or “professional limited
liability company,” as the case may be, as the last words of their
formal name. These companies may now alternatively use the abbreviations
“L.L.C.”, “L.L.P.”, or “P.L.L.C.”, respectively.
- Rule 7.1(a) (Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services)
- Rule 7.5(a) and (b) (Firm Names and Letterheads)
In 1993, this Committee adopted Opinion No. 235, which permitted D.C.
Bar members to practice in local offices of out-of-state firms that were
organized under state law as “limited liability companies” or
“registered limited liability partnerships.” Because these forms
of business organization were foreign to this jurisdiction, however, the
Committee concluded that the formal name under which these law firms practice
must identify in full, not merely by abbreviation, the limited liability
Since Opinion No. 235 was adopted, the Registered
Limited Liability Partnership Amendment Act and the Limited Liability
Company Act of 1994 have been enacted in the District of Columbia.
Numerous lawyers have contacted the Committee to determine whether it
remains necessary to identify their form of business organization in full
or if abbreviations are now acceptable.
In Opinion No. 235, the Committee stated “[t]here may come a
time in the not too distant future when, either by District of Columbia
Council action, or otherwise, the implications of the abbreviation ‘L.L.P.’
[or ‘L.L.C.’] will be as well understood as the implications
of the historically more common abbreviations ‘P.C.’ or ‘P.A.’,
but until that time comes we are not disposed to approve the use in the
District of Columbia of the abbreviation.” In October 1993, the Registered
Limited Liability Partnership Amendment Act was enacted in the District
of Columbia.1 D.C. Code § 41-144 states that “[t]he name of
a registered limited liability partnership shall contain the words ‘Registered
Limited Liability Partnership’ or the abbreviation ‘L.L.P.’
as the last words or letters of its name.” (emphasis added).
More recently, on May 3, 1994, the District of
Columbia Council passed the Limited Liability Company Act of 1994.2
Under D.C. Code § 29-1304, “a limited liability company name
shall contain the words ‘limited liability company’ or the
abbreviation ‘L.L.C.’” (emphasis added). The Limited
Liability Company Act of 1994 also provided guidance for “professional
limited liability companies” which are limited liability companies
organized solely for the purpose of rendering professional services through
its members, managers, or employees. Pursuant to D.C. Code § 29-1304,
a “professional limited liability company name shall contain the
words ‘professional limited liability company’ or the abbreviation ‘P.L.L.C.’”
In light of these recent legislative enactments,
we see no reason to disallow the use of the abbreviations, “L.L.P.”,
“L.L.C.”, or “P.L.L.C.” Therefore, the Committee revises
its position taken in Opinion No. 235 regarding the use of abbreviations
by law firms organized under limited liability statutes. A law firm so
organized will satisfy the requirements of Rules 7.1(a), and 7.5(a) and
(b) by identifying its form of business organization either in full or
by use of the appropriate abbreviation.
Adopted: March 21, 1995
- D.C. Reg. 5764 (Aug. 13, 1993), 7477
(Oct. 29, 1993) (notice of enactment).
- D.C. Reg. 3010 (May 27, 1994), 5138 (Aug.
5, 1994) (notice of enactment).