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

OPINION 70-44
January 8, 1971

It is not improper for a business card showing a corporation's name and Florida address to include identification of the corporate attorney's position. If the attorney is not licensed to practice in Florida a disclaimer to that effect should be included on the card.

Opinion: 70-3

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar inquires in relation to his representing a national corporation moving its home office from another state to Florida and seeking his advice as to whether full-time corporate personnel, who are lawyers but not admitted to The Florida Bar, may identify themselves by business card as “associate counsel,” “tax counsel” or other appellations denoting the legal profession, but which cards would bear the name of the corporation and its address.

Technically, this inquiry may be beyond this Committee's jurisdiction because it involves the proposed conduct of others than a member of The Florida Bar. It may well be a situation wherein the crux of the matter lies within the realm of unauthorized practice of law.

It is, however, a close question as to whether, when a member of The Florida Bar must recommend to a client on an ethical problem for which the member may be ultimately responsible, it would fall within the scope of review of the Professional Ethics Committee. The Committee therefore will give a limited response to the inquirer which is specifically directed to advice to be rendered.

A majority of the Committee are of the opinion that in the event a person in behalf of a corporate employer is to engage in Florida in activities which constitute the practice of law, and particularly when such person utilizes a Florida address, he would be subject to the Integration Rule of The Florida Bar, including its requirement for admission to practice of law in this state. Compare Florida Opinion 70-3.

On the other hand, the Committee is aware that many corporations will move their entire headquarters from state to state, including Florida, and their corporate staffs will contain employed attorneys not admitted to practice in the state to which the move is made. Considering the issue in this light, the Committee concludes it would not be improper for a business card showing the corporation and its Florida address to include the identification of the corporate attorney's position with the words “not admitted to practice in Florida” or similar disclaiming verbiage.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]