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

OPINION 71-39
October 20, 1971

An investigator employed full time by a law firm may use the law firm's name on his business card.

Opinions: ABA Informals 881 (1965), 909 (1966), 1185 (1971)

Committeeman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar employs an investigator. He desires to have a card imprinted as follows:

NAME

_________________________
INVESTIGATOR
Street and Number
City, State, Zip

There will be no indication that the address is one of a law office.

The Committee finds there is no impropriety in the proposed action, assuming the investigator is a full-time employee working for no one else. The Committee further assumes the activity of the investigator is that duly and ethically allowed to be handled by a law assistant.

As a matter of interest, the ABA has considered similar questions in informal opinions 881 (1965), 909 (1966) and 1185 (1971). The ABA opinions determine a law firm does not necessarily violate ethical principles by permitting an investigator, also an employee, to use a business card bearing his name and position and additionally the law firm's name, address and telephone number. The ABA committee determined the firm would be accountable for the lay assistant's actions and conduct and would have to ensure the investigator's activities did not result in advertising or solicitation in behalf of the law firm, or even appear to do so.

A majority of this Committee would adopt the view expressed by the ABA. A minority finds the use of the law firm's name on the card to be improper, but do agree to the use of the card with address and telephone number thereon.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]