FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
July 12, 1974
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
The “interstate partnership” concept does not encompass “branch offices” of an out-of-state law
firm designed primarily to serve out-of-state clients who happen to spend time in Florida. A true
interstate partnership requires a Florida partner practicing full-time in Florida.
Note: See, The Florida Bar v. Savitt, 363 So.2d 559 (Fla. 1978), which discusses the
requirements of a bona fide interstate partnership.
Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:
A New York law firm has written the Committee that it desires to establish “a
small office within the State of Florida, primarily so that we might better serve
those of our clients, of whom there are many, who spend substantial periods of
time in your state during the course of any year.” Any partner or associate
practicing in the contemplated Florida office would be admitted to practice in
Florida. Inquiry is made as to whether, under DR 2-102(D), the rules relating to
interstate partnerships would apply so as to permit the firm “to conduct such
practice [in Florida] under our firm name, and to list our Florida office on our
above letterhead.” All partners in the Florida office would be admitted to practice
in both New York and Florida and would be partners in the New York firm. The
firm’s name does not contain the name of any Florida lawyer and its letterhead
does not list any partners or associates of the firm.
Based on the facts presented, the Committee is of the opinion that the contemplated
Florida office would not qualify as an interstate “partnership” within the meaning of DR
2-102(D). No lawyer admitted in Florida is presently practicing in Florida on a full-time basis.
Consequently, there is no Florida practitioner who could form an “interstate partnership” with
the New York firm.
The Committee believes that the “interstate partnership” concept does not encompass
“branch offices” of an out-of-state law firm designed primarily to serve out-of-state clients who
happen to spend time in Florida.