The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 68-16

May 7, 1968
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An attorney who represented a cooperative apartment association may later represent a client
who is an officer of the association and whose rights may be affected by proposed bylaw
amendments if the association consents to the representation and the attorney will not be
involved in any attack on an instrument drawn by him for the association.


Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar advises as follows:
Approximately six years ago I represented a client in his purchase of a co-op
apartment here in _____________ and he has been living in the apartment since
that time. Shortly after his purchase of the apartment he became active in the
management of the cooperative association, serving as an officer for
approximately four or five years. During the time that he was an officer, I was
officially retained by the cooperative association as its legal counsel. I was paid a
nominal annual retainer for my services, which consisted of attendance at the
annual meeting of the membership and answering legal questions as they arose.
There was absolutely no confidential information given to me at any time.
Everything which was done was done with the full knowledge of all of the
members of the association. My employment was terminated after this past annual
meeting and I was advised by letter that the corporation no longer desired an
attorney on a retainer basis.
I was advised by my original individual client that the corporation now
proposes to amend its by-laws and that this amendment will seriously affect his
legal rights. He proposes to take legal action against the cooperative association if
this change in the by-laws is approved. This change in the by-laws is something
which has absolutely no relation to anything which occurred while I was counsel
for the association and was proposed subsequent to the termination of my
We are asked in effect whether the proposed representation of the individual client would
be violative of Canon 6. In our judgment it would not so long as the inquirer procures the express
consent of the cooperative association and so long as it is clear that the representation of the
individual in question will not involve the attack on any documents or contracts which the
inquirer was required to prepare during the time in which he represented the association.