The Florida Bar

May 15, 1961

There is no impropriety in a lawyer whose practice is limited to patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition matters retaining space in a suite occupied by an insurance and real estate broker for the operation of a branch law office as long as appropriate measures are taken to keep the law practice entirely separate from the business of the broker and the latter is not used to “feed” the law practice.

Canon: 27

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar submits an inquiry in which he states that he contemplates opening a branch office and leasing a desk space in a suite of offices maintained by an insurance and real estate broker, utilizing his secretary for telephone answering and for a receptionist, maintaining a separate telephone, separately listed under a different number than the broker's. His practice is limited to patent, trademark, copyright and unfair competition matters, none of which is related to or involves real estate transactions. He will place his firm name on the window facing the street, with a designation of “Patent Attorneys” in an appropriate size, separate and apart from the designation employed by the broker. He will handle client interviews in this branch office only by appointment until such time as he can establish a full time associate in the office.

Based on his statements as above, a majority of the Committee feel there is no impropriety in the course suggested and that it would not be unethical so long as the real estate and insurance business is not used as a “feeder” for his law practice and his practice continues to be limited as it is at present. We would suggest the desirability, however, of client interviews being conducted in a private office if one is available.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]