The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
OPINION 74-27
October 30, 1974
An attorney who is a member of a municipal advisory board may properly represent a private client before other municipal agencies and courts provided that: (1) the matter in which the attorney represents the client has no relationship to any decision made by the board; (2) the board has no control over any administrative or judicial officer before whom the attorney would appear; and (3) the board has no control over any public official who may appear in a proceeding as a witness and whose testimony the attorney might have to attack.

Opinions: 69-21, 69-22, 70-11, 71-12, 71-25, 72-9

Vice Chairman Sullivan stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar has been asked to serve on the five-member Advisory Cemetery Board of the city in which his firm's offices are located. The Board members serve without pay. Their sole function is to advise the City Commission, the City Manager and the cemetery trustees in matters relating to the city cemetery. He will not serve as an attorney for the Board although the fact that he is an attorney is one of the reasons he has been asked to serve on the Board.

The attorney's firm appears from time to time in the Municipal Court and before the City Commission and various city agencies and boards in behalf of the firm's clients.

He asks whether he may properly continue that representation if he accepts the appointment.

The Committee has on numerous occasions dealt with the propriety of attorneys who serve in part-time or full-time public offices representing private clients in courts or before administrative bodies. See Opinions 69-21, 69-22, 70-11 [since withdrawn], 71-12, 71-25 and 72-9.

The Committee is of the opinion that, in the absence of any statute or ordinance prohibiting it, the attorney may properly represent private clients before those agencies and boards and in that court provided that:

1. The matter in which the attorney represents the client has no relationship to any decision made by the Board;

2. The Board has no control over any administrative or judicial officer before whom the attorney would appear; and

3. The Board has no control over any public official who may appear in a proceeding as a witness and whose testimony the attorney might have to attack.




[Revised: 08-24-2011]