The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 74-34

December 26, 1974
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An attorney may represent a law enforcement officer while retained as attorney for a law
enforcement officers’ association of which that officer is a member, but such representation may
raise potential conflicts which must be answered on a case-by-case basis.

EC 5-18
Vice Chairman Sullivan stated the opinion of the committee:
Anticipating that recent legislation will result in a substantial increase in the
number of disciplinary matters prosecuted against law enforcement officers, the
inquiring attorney asks:
May a member of The Florida Bar who is regularly retained by a law
enforcement officer’s association, such as the Police Benevolent Association or
the Fraternal Order of Police (city, county or state chapters), represent a police
officer/association member, by private arrangement, in any proceeding in which
an officer/member of the same association and chapter may or will be called to

As the question is phrased, representation of the individual officer has nothing to do with
the police officers’ organization, and the Committee answers it in the affirmative. The
Committee recognizes, however, that situations could arise which would create a conflict of
interest — where the police officers’ organization is the real complainant against an individual
officer, for example.
For that reason, the Committee cannot give blanket approval to such representation and
believes that each case will have to be decided on an individual basis. Ethical Consideration