The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 62-57
March 6, 1963

The mayor of a city should not participate in serving notices on the city in negligence cases nor participate in fees after referring the cause to other attorneys for handling.

Canons: 6, 29, 34, 38

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:

We have an inquiry from a member of The Florida Bar relative to the propriety of the Mayor of a large Florida city participating in fees of several long-time clients having negligence claims involving the city which he has forwarded to other attorneys for handling.

We feel that it would be improper to share in the fee unless the work and responsibility undertaken was commensurate with the forwarding fee received, but we do not see how it would be possible to have an interest in litigation against the city without violating Canon 6 relating to adverse and conflicting influences and interests, possibly violating Canon 29 relating to upholding the honor of the profession, and Canon 38 providing that a lawyer should accept no compensation without the knowledge and consent of his client after full disclosure. There is no way that we know of in which the consent could be given by the city or its residents. We would, therefore, have to hold that participation in the fees would be unethical in this case, and we would recommend that he have no connection with the notices or litigation in future matters.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]