The Florida Bar
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR
July 12, 1974
July 12, 1974
The “interstate partnership” concept does not encompass “branch offices” of an out-of-state law firm designed primarily to serve out-of-state clients who happen to spend time in Florida. A true interstate partnership requires a Florida partner practicing full-time in Florida.
[Note: See, The Florida Bar v. Savitt, 363 So.2d 559 (Fla. 1978), which discusses the requirements of a bona fide interstate partnership.]
Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:
A New York law firm has written the Committee that it desires to establish “a small office within the State of Florida, primarily so that we might better serve those of our clients, of whom there are many, who spend substantial periods of time in your state during the course of any year.” Any partner or associate practicing in the contemplated Florida office would be admitted to practice in Florida. Inquiry is made as to whether, under DR 2-102(D), the rules relating to interstate partnerships would apply so as to permit the firm “to conduct such practice [in Florida] under our firm name, and to list our Florida office on our above letterhead.” All partners in the Florida office would be admitted to practice in both New York and Florida and would be partners in the New York firm. The firm's name does not contain the name of any Florida lawyer and its letterhead does not list any partners or associates of the firm.
Based on the facts presented, the Committee is of the opinion that the contemplated Florida office would not qualify as an interstate “partnership” within the meaning of DR 2-102(D). No lawyer admitted in Florida is presently practicing in Florida on a full-time basis. Consequently, there is no Florida practitioner who could form an “interstate partnership” with the New York firm.
The Committee believes that the “interstate partnership” concept does not encompass “branch offices” of an out-of-state law firm designed primarily to serve out-of-state clients who happen to spend time in Florida.