The Florida Bar

March 4, 1974
It is misleading and, therefore, improper for an attorney to advertise himself as a "notario."

Note: See The Florida Bar v. Fuentes , 190 So.2d 748 (Fla. 1966).

CPR: DR 2-102(E)
Opinions: 66-70 and 66-71

Vice Chairman Sullivan stated the opinion of the committee:

The inquiring attorney handles a substantial number of real estate transactions and, for that reason, is a Notary Public as well as a member of The Florida Bar.

He has offices in Miami in an area which is mainly Latin and predominantly Cuban in composition. He asks whether he may properly display a sign reading "Abogado y Notario - Attorney and Notary."

The Committee, one member dissenting, is of the opinion that display of such a sign is improper and violates DR 2-102(E) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. See also this Committee's earlier Opinions 66-70 and 66-71 [both have been withdrawn].

The words "notario" and "notary public" are not synonymous. There is no one in Florida authorized to do here the exact equivalent of what a notario does in Latin American countries. A notario's functions there are far more extensive than those of a notary public here. We are of the opinion that the sign is improper because it is also misleading.

The dissenting Committeeman points out that the designation Abogado - Notario has been and continues to be used in those countries. He is of the opinion that use of the joint designation might not be improper in one area although it would be improper in another. He would leave the decision in each instance to the ethics committee of the local bar association.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]