The Florida Bar

January 8, 1968

A member of The Florida Bar may not properly employ a retired member of the bar of another jurisdiction as an office coordinator and manager with duties that include talking with clients and attending conferences, hearings and similar matters.

Canons: 47, Additional Rule 10
Opinions: 62-6, 65-24

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of this committee:

A member of The Florida Bar proposes to employ a retired New York lawyer “as an office coordinator and manager in my law office.” This individual would perform many of the functions customarily performed by a “law clerk,” but has no present intention of standing the Florida bar examination. We are asked a number of questions, including whether his name may be properly listed on a letterhead and whether he may talk with clients, attend conferences and hearings, receive or relay messages to members of the firm from outside attorneys, and “make changes” in documents pursuant to instructions of a licensed attorney.

In our judgment the individual in question could not fairly be regarded as a lay office manager, dealing essentially with administrative functions, nor could he be regarded as a “law clerk” performing the functions normally incident to that brief period of service while studying for or awaiting results of a bar examination. Rather, as a member of a bar of another jurisdiction and despite the best intentions of the inquirer, he would inevitably be regarded as a lawyer both by his colleagues and by the other members of the bar and clients.

Under the circumstances we unhesitatingly answer all of the questions propounded in the negative. See also our Opinions 62-6 [since withdrawn] and 65-24 [since withdrawn].

[Revised: 08-24-2011]