FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
May 27, 1970
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
It is not improper for two lawyers to share a common reception room and library facility
although they are not partners and do not have a common responsibility to their respective
clients, provided every reasonable effort is made to avoid creating any impression that a
partnership exists. Specifically, the lawyers should use separate letterhead and building directory
listings, and should direct a common receptionist not to use language that would imply a
Vice Chairman Gregory stated the opinion of the committee:
Two Florida lawyers desire “to share a common reception room, use common
library facilities, etc., but do not wish to become partners.” One of them requests
the Committee’s advice as to “the proper wording for professional stationery and
listing on the building directory where the offices are located.”
The use of a common reception room and common library facilities by lawyers who do
not have a common responsibility to all their respective clients is not of itself objectionable.
Under such circumstances, however, the lawyers involved are responsible for devoting every
reasonable effort to avoid creating any impression that a partnership between them exists. Each
lawyer should use an entirely separate letterhead including his own name only, with no reference
to any other lawyer sharing the common facilities. Each such lawyer should be listed
individually and separately from the others on all building directories, the office entrance or
otherwise where the lawyer’s name may properly be exhibited. The receptionist in greeting
callers, answering the telephone and otherwise should be directed to avoid any conduct or
language which might imply to others that the lawyers have joint professional responsibility.
Subject to the admonitions stated, the Committee concludes that the utilization of the
joint facilities contemplated will comply with Canon 33 and is proper.