Any lawyer who thinks a handshake and a slap on the back are all it takes to confer partnership status should read the latest opinion from Philadelphia’s Commerce Court.

According to Judge Howland W. Abramson’s opinion in a pair of cases consolidated under the caption Welker v. Mychak, although attorney Samuel Mychak was the sole shareholder in his firm “Samuel Mychak P.C.,” the firm was referred to as Mychak Geckle & Welker, and firm members Mychak, Patrick Geckle and Marla Welker publicly presented themselves as partners in, among other venues, telephone book advertisements.