FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
July 3, 1964
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An attorney may maintain an office in the claims department of a corporate client for the purpose
of handling settlement of claims and defense of actions brought against the corporation, provided
that the attorney carries on his other law practice at a different address.
Chairman Smith stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar requests our opinion as to the following
circumstances. A corporation maintains its own claims department for handling
claims brought against the corporation and drivers of its motor vehicles. The
claims department maintains offices separate and apart from other offices of the
corporation and it is located at a different address. He desires to know if an
attorney may ethically defend the corporation and/or drivers of its vehicles in an
action at law if the attorney handles such matters from the premises of the claims
department. The attorney would not be engaged in the practice of law otherwise at
the address of the claims office.
It is the opinion of this Committee that an attorney may properly maintain an office in the
claims department of the corporate client for the purpose of handling from that office settlement
of claims made against the corporation and defense of actions at law brought against the
corporation and/or drivers of its vehicles.
The Committee has no reservation whatsoever, given the circumstances wherein the
attorney serves as house counsel for the corporate client and does not render legal services for
any other clients at the company’s address or at any other address. It is assumed, however, that
the attorney will carry on other law practice at a different address. This the Committee considers
permissible provided the attorney does not allow the arrangement to result in “feeding” of legal
representation to the attorney either at the corporate address or at the address of the attorney’s
private offices. In this respect, particular attention should be given to representation of individual
employees of the corporation. The better practice would be to decline such representation.
Attention is invited especially to the provisions of Canon 27 which prohibit the
advertising or solicitation of professional representation.