The Florida Bar

February 18, 1972

When a law firm ceases to share office space with a company not engaged in the practice of law, the name of the company should be removed from law firm window.

Opinions: 65-74, 69-12

Chairman Clarkson stated the opinion of the committee:

The Committee has received the inquiry which follows:

For a number of years our firm has subleased an office to a firm representing mutual fund companies. They have maintained separate telephone lines connected to our office phone system and until recently used a common entrance and waiting room.

Several months ago we subleased to this same company another office with a separate entrance. While we continue to provide an answering service on the company line, the company no longer shares office space with this firm. At no time have we ever undertaken to represent any client doing business with the mutual companies, nor have we recommended their service.

On the front window of our office reception room, separated from the lettered name of this firm is the name of the mutual fund company. The question posed is whether this sign is in violation of the Canons of Ethics.

We have previously discussed the distinctive steps which must be taken when a lawyer or law firm shares office space with non-lawyers. See Florida Opinion 65-74 [since withdrawn] (certified public accountant) and 69-12 [since withdrawn] (“consulting actuaries”).

In this instance the law firm no longer shares office space with the lay agency. Accordingly, the Committee has concluded that the name of the mutual fund company should be removed from the front window of the law firm's reception room.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]