The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 66-57

March 31, 1967
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
Although the sharing of office space by a lawyer with a nonlawyer is not to be encouraged,
members of The Florida Bar who rent space in their office for occasional use by an arbitrator
may place on their door a legend bearing the name of the arbitrator. The listing must be clearly
separate from the listing of the law firm.


Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:
AB, a professional arbitrator with a principal office in another state, desires
to rent space in an office of members of The Florida Bar. The arbitrator is a
member of the bar of the state in which he has his principal office, but is not
engaged in the practice of law, devoting his time exclusively to his work as an
arbitrator and impartial chairman. He is not admitted to The Florida Bar. The
members of The Florida Bar to whom the request for rental is addressed have
inquired of this Committee whether it would be appropriate to place on the office
door below and distinguished from their own names a legend reading “AB,
Arbitrator and Impartial Chairman–Not a Member of The Florida Bar.” It would
be contemplated that the office space to be rented would only be used when the
occasion arises for the arbitrator to act in his capacity as arbitrator in Florida. No
reference to his presence in the suite of offices would be made in answering the
telephone, nor would such reference appear on the firm stationery.
Although in our judgment the sharing of office space by a lawyer with a non-lawyer is
not to be encouraged, we do not think the proposed arrangement is proscribed by the canons so
long as the listing on the door is physically arranged to avoid any misleading connotation that the
arbitrator is connected with the firm. In our judgment if the listing is clearly separate from that of
the law firm, it is not necessary to add the words “Not a Member of The Florida Bar” because
this legend might suggest a lawyer relationship. Most importantly the inquiring members of the
Bar must be careful that the sharing of offices does not result in a “feeder” to their practice,
indirect advertising of their professional services, sharing of professional fees or professional
responsibilities with the arbitrator, or any implication to visitors that their practice is related to
the work of the arbitrator.