Lawyer disciplined for misusing Ohio justice’s name on signs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill’s former law partner has been placed under disciplinary watch for two years for improperly using the justice’s name on his office signs and business cards.

Thomas C. Brown, of Geneva, skirted a lifetime license suspension recommended by the local bar association. The high court ruled 4-3 Thursday to impose a two-year stayed suspension on Brown’s law license. That allows him to continue to practice as long as he meets the court’s requirements.

O’Neill sat out the case. He had initially agreed to Brown’s plan to open O’Neill & Brown Law Office in 2015. He said he didn’t realize it was improper.

Under Ohio professional conduct rules, a firm can’t use the name of a lawyer holding public office who doesn’t currently practice there.

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