The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 67-38

FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
OPINION 67-38
November 27, 1967
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
A member of The Florida Bar who is employed by a nationally known corporation as general
counsel in New York City but plans to handle a limited number of legal matters on monthly
visits to Florida, may continue to maintain an office in the suite of his present firm and to
continue a listing of his individual name on the firm stationery.
Canon:
Opinion:

27
66-19

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar has been employed by a nationally known
corporation in a capacity of general counsel, and will serve in that capacity with
offices principally in New York City and on occasion in a metropolitan Florida
community. He has moved his home from the latter community to New York, but
plans to “handle a limited number of legal matters requiring my personal
attention” on monthly visits to Florida. In the latter respect he inquires as to the
propriety of his continuing to maintain an office in the suite of his present firm,
and to continue a listing of his individual name on the firm stationery. (His family
name will necessarily remain in the firm name because of the membership in the
firm of relatives.) As we understand it, the amount of private practice will be
relatively inconsequential, and stems primarily from a desire to handle pending
matters and matters of importance to long standing clients. In other words, for all
practical purposes this member of The Florida Bar will serve as a full-time
corporate employee with only incidental non-corporate employment.
In our Opinion 66-19 [since withdrawn] we indicated that a bona fide private practitioner
who was not a full-time employee of the involved entity could not properly categorize himself as
general counsel. In this instance we are in effect presented with the converse of that situation.
Based upon the particular facts presented, and our understanding above related, this Committee,
three members dissenting, concludes that there is no impropriety in the attorney maintaining his
former office in the suite of his firm in Florida and listing his individual name upon the firm
letterhead, because the small amount of private practice cannot alter his essential status as a
corporate employee. Manifestly, the position as general counsel, which we construe for all
practical purposes to be a full-time position, cannot be utilized for purpose of solicitation or the
feeding of business to his former firm. However, it is evident that this is not the intention of the
inquirer.