The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 60-37

May 15, 1961
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
There is no impropriety in a lawyer whose practice is limited to patent, trademark, copyright, and
unfair competition matters retaining space in a suite occupied by an insurance and real estate
broker for the operation of a branch law office as long as appropriate measures are taken to keep
the law practice entirely separate from the business of the broker and the latter is not used to
“feed” the law practice.


Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar submits an inquiry in which he states that he
contemplates opening a branch office and leasing a desk space in a suite of offices
maintained by an insurance and real estate broker, utilizing his secretary for
telephone answering and for a receptionist, maintaining a separate telephone,
separately listed under a different number than the broker’s. His practice is
limited to patent, trademark, copyright and unfair competition matters, none of
which is related to or involves real estate transactions. He will place his firm
name on the window facing the street, with a designation of “Patent Attorneys” in
an appropriate size, separate and apart from the designation employed by the
broker. He will handle client interviews in this branch office only by appointment
until such time as he can establish a full time associate in the office.
Based on his statements as above, a majority of the Committee feel there is no
impropriety in the course suggested and that it would not be unethical so long as the real estate
and insurance business is not used as a “feeder” for his law practice and his practice continues to
be limited as it is at present. We would suggest the desirability, however, of client interviews
being conducted in a private office if one is available.