The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 61-9

July 18, 1961
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
It is not improper for a lawyer’s office and a CPA’s office to be located in the same building, and
for them to share the services of a secretary, and possibly telephone, so long as the arrangement
is not used to channel legal work to the attorney.

59-3, 59-6, 59-16, 60-37

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar submits a question as to whether it would be
ethical for a Florida attorney to share space with a CPA. The member states that
he contemplates moving into larger office space and has a close personal friend
who is a CPA, and would like to share the cost of rent and other common office
expenses, and that the CPA would occupy his own private office, keeping his files
and clients entirely separate from the lawyer’s, the only common ground being
the use of the secretary and the sharing of space, and possibly telephone.
Our Committee rendered its Opinion 60-37 concerning the sharing of space in a suite of
offices maintained by an insurance and real estate broker by an attorney. We also call attention to
the statement contained in “Your Privileges and Responsibilities as a Lawyer in Florida” on page
28, wherein it is suggested that it is not improper for a practicing attorney to share a reception
room and receptionist with a real estate broker or insurance agent, provided that the use thereof
was not used for channeling legal work to, or feeding the law practice of the attorney. In
Opinion 59-6 [since withdrawn], we held it was improper for a lawyer who is also a CPA to
practice both professions from the same office in which he conducted his law business. In
Opinion 59-16 [since withdrawn], we held that it would be improper for a lawyer to conduct a
real estate business from the same office as his law business.
Under the circumstances presented we do not believe there would be any impropriety in
sharing offices with a CPA friend.