The Florida Bar
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PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 67-38
November 27, 1967

A member of The Florida Bar who is employed by a nationally known corporation as general counsel in New York City but plans to handle a limited number of legal matters
on monthly visits to Florida, may continue to maintain an office in the suite of his present firm and to continue a listing of his individual name on the firm stationery.

Canon: 27
Opinion: 66-19

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar has been employed by a nationally known corporation in a capacity of general counsel, and will serve in that capacity with offices principally in New York City and on occasion in a metropolitan Florida community. He has moved his home from the latter community to New York, but plans to “handle a limited number of legal matters requiring my personal attention” on monthly visits to Florida. In the latter respect he inquires as to the propriety of his continuing to maintain an office in the suite of his present firm, and to continue a listing of his individual name on the firm stationery. (His family name will necessarily remain in the firm name because of the membership in the firm of relatives.) As we understand it, the amount of private practice will be relatively inconsequential, and stems primarily from a desire to handle pending matters and matters of importance to long standing clients. In other words, for all practical purposes this member of The Florida Bar will serve as a full-time corporate employee with only incidental non-corporate employment.

In our Opinion 66-19 [since withdrawn] we indicated that a bona fide private practitioner who was not a full-time employee of the involved entity could not properly categorize himself as general counsel. In this instance we are in effect presented with the converse of that situation. Based upon the particular facts presented, and our understanding above related, this Committee, three members dissenting, concludes that there is no impropriety in the attorney maintaining his former office in the suite of his firm in Florida and listing his individual name upon the firm letterhead, because the small amount of private practice cannot alter his essential status as a corporate employee. Manifestly, the position as general counsel, which we construe for all practical purposes to be a full-time position, cannot be utilized for purpose of solicitation or the feeding of business to his former firm. However, it is evident that this is not the intention of the inquirer.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]