The Florida Bar
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PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 71-23
June 21, 1971

A law firm may allow its client to choose the date and time for closing a transaction. However, actual notice to the other party of the date and time should come from the law firm itself and not from the client.

CPR: Canon 3

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A Florida law firm represents a condominium developer. Contracts of purchase and sale provide for the developer scheduling the date of closing at the offices of the law firm. The attorneys have drafted under their letterhead a form of notice advising of time, date and place of closing, which is given to the condominium developer, who inserts the date and time in blanks and places it in the mail to the purchaser. The Committee is asked whether this procedure violates Canon 3, CPR (old Canon 47).

The Committee is of the opinion that the completion and mailing of the notice as aforesaid does not involve the unauthorized practice of law. There is no literal violation of the ethical considerations or disciplinary rules under Canon 3, CPR.

A majority of the Committee, however, are concerned with the appearance of the proposed procedure, as it is unseemly for a law firm to delegate to anyone outside its office the ability to make appointments for the lawyers, particularly when the letter notice of appointment would appear to have been sent from the law firm, although in fact it had originated with the developer. To use a form of notice appointment is proper, but the majority determine that so there can be no misinterpretation of the action or the appointment date and time, the developer should upon completion contact the law firm, which in turn could make the appointment with the purchaser.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]