The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 62-5

July 2, 1962
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
It would be improper for the partner of a municipal officer having power to appoint municipal
judges to practice before such judges.


Vice-Chairman Smith stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar submits an inquiry wherein he states that he is
a member of the City Commission of a Florida city, and as such his duties as city
commissioner involve appointment of department heads including the city judge.
He states that, under the circumstances, he does not handle cases before the
municipal court of the city. He inquires, however, whether it would be proper for
his partner to represent clients before that court while he is serving on the city
This Committee has on a number of occasions held that it was improper for a member of
a governmental body empowered to appoint judges to practice before the Court to which
appointments were made. Although we are aware of no decisions directly in point, it is likewise
our opinion that it would be improper for a partner of such official to practice before the
appointed court. In Drinker, Legal Ethics, beginning at page 103, there is a discussion of the duty
of attorneys not to represent conflicting interests. This duty arises pursuant to the provisions of
Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics. Drinker’s observations clearly point to a principle
that a “a lawyer may not do what his partner may not do.” We feel that the spirit of the Canons
requires application of this principle to the situation presented. This would appear to be
particularly so inasmuch as the partner is apparently a relative.