The Florida Bar

May 7, 1968

An attorney who represented a cooperative apartment association may later represent a client who is an officer of the association and whose rights may be affected by proposed bylaw amendments if the association consents to the representation and the attorney will not be involved in any attack on an instrument drawn by him for the association.

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar advises as follows:

Approximately six years ago I represented a client in his purchase of a co-op apartment here in _____________ and he has been living in the apartment since that time. Shortly after his purchase of the apartment he became active in the management of the cooperative association, serving as an officer for approximately four or five years. During the time that he was an officer, I was officially retained by the cooperative association as its legal counsel. I was paid a nominal annual retainer for my services, which consisted of attendance at the annual meeting of the membership and answering legal questions as they arose. There was absolutely no confidential information given to me at any time. Everything which was done was done with the full knowledge of all of the members of the association. My employment was terminated after this past annual meeting and I was advised by letter that the corporation no longer desired an attorney on a retainer basis.

I was advised by my original individual client that the corporation now proposes to amend its by-laws and that this amendment will seriously affect his legal rights. He proposes to take legal action against the cooperative association if this change in the by-laws is approved. This change in the by-laws is something which has absolutely no relation to anything which occurred while I was counsel for the association and was proposed subsequent to the termination of my employment.

We are asked in effect whether the proposed representation of the individual client would be violative of Canon 6. In our judgment it would not so long as the inquirer procures the express consent of the cooperative association and so long as it is clear that the representation of the individual in question will not involve the attack on any documents or contracts which the inquirer was required to prepare during the time in which he represented the association.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]