The Florida Bar

November 25, 1970

It is not unethical to represent a client who has terminated his relationship with a prior attorney, written employment contract notwithstanding.

Opinion: 66-44

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar has been requested to represent certain individuals and a corporation, but finds the proposed clients had theretofore entered into a written representation agreement with another attorney. He inquires what ethical considerations exist in view of the proposed clients not desiring to be represented by the initial attorney.

Assuming the inquiring attorney has not by effort encroached upon the representation by the initial attorney, this inquiry is governed by Florida Opinion 66-44 [withdrawn], wherein it was held it is for the client to decide who shall represent him.

The Committee would point out it cannot undertake to advise of the clients' obligation to the initial attorney under the first representation agreement as this would be a question of law. The superseding attorney would not be responsible for fees due the superseded attorney, but the superseded attorney is entitled to notice so that he may protect his right or lien as the case may be. See Drinker, page 200. Certainly, the prospective clients should be advised of the potential fee exposure to the initial attorney as well.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]