FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
November 25, 1974
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An attorney employed by a state official to form a corporation may not disclose to the press
information furnished by the client or in the attorney’s files without the client’s permission. The
attorney may advise the press that certain information is filed and available for inspection in the
state comptroller’s office.
Chairman Zehmer stated the opinion of the committee:
The inquiring attorney was employed by a state official to form a corporation
to obtain and hold a charter from the State of Florida for the operation of a small
loan company. The attorney did so, filing the appropriate papers with the State
Comptroller’s office. The corporation then remained dormant for several years
and during such years there were exchanges of correspondence between the
attorney and his client and between the attorney and the State Comptroller’s office
concerning the charter. Eventually, the attorney was informed that a sale has been
arranged and was directed to prepare documents necessary to consummate the
sale. The attorney did so and the transaction was closed.
The attorney has now been asked by representatives of the news media to
discuss the handling of this transaction with them. Because the attorney was
representing a state official and much of the information is already of public
record in the State Comptroller’s office, the attorney inquires to what extent he
may disclose information of this transaction to the press.
The Committee concludes that unless the inquirer obtains the consent of his client, DR
4-101 prohibits him from disclosing any information furnished by his client or which the
attorney has in his file, other than advising the inquiring reporter that certain information is filed
and available for inspection in the State Comptroller’s office in Tallahassee.