The Florida Bar

December 26, 1974
An attorney may represent a law enforcement officer while retained as attorney for a law enforcement officers' association of which that officer is a member, but such representation may raise potential conflicts which must be answered on a case-by-case basis.

CPR: EC 5-18

Vice Chairman Sullivan stated the opinion of the committee:

Anticipating that recent legislation will result in a substantial increase in the number of disciplinary matters prosecuted against law enforcement officers, the inquiring attorney asks:

May a member of The Florida Bar who is regularly retained by a law enforcement officer's association, such as the Police Benevolent Association or the Fraternal Order of Police (city, county or state chapters), represent a police officer/association member, by private arrangement, in any proceeding in which an officer/member of the same association and chapter may or will be called to testify?

As the question is phrased, representation of the individual officer has nothing to do with the police officers' organization, and the Committee answers it in the affirmative. The Committee recognizes, however, that situations could arise which would create a conflict of interest - where the police officers' organization is the real complainant against an individual officer, for example.

For that reason, the Committee cannot give blanket approval to such representation and believes that each case will have to be decided on an individual basis. Ethical Consideration 5-18.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]