The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 72-38

November 10, 1972
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
If a member of a professional association accepts employment as an assistant public defender, no
other member of such association may handle criminal cases.

DR 5-105(D)
F.S. §27.51(3)

Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of a professional association contemplates accepting employment
by a public defender to handle appellate work for the latter. Inquiry is made as to
whether such employment would preclude other members of the inquirer’s law
firm from handling criminal cases.
F.S. §27.51(3) provides that assistant public defenders “shall not otherwise engage in the
practice of criminal law.” DR 5-105(D) of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
If a lawyer is required to decline employment or to withdraw from
employment under DR 5-105, no partner or associate of his or his firm may
accept or continue such employment.
In view of the above Disciplinary Rule and the general principles applicable to
partnerships and professional associations, the Committee is of the opinion that no members of
the inquirer’s firm may handle criminal cases if the inquirer accepts employment as an assistant
public defender.