FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
May 15, 1975
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An attorney teaching a course in mobile home owners’ law at a junior college may accept
employment from a mobile home tenants’ association to which one of his or her students belong.
DR 2-104(A) [See current 4-7.18(a)]
Drinker, Legal Ethics, p.218
Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:
The inquiring lawyer teaches a course in mobile home owners’ law at a junior college.
One of the inquirer’s students who lives in a mobile home rental park has recommended the
inquirer’s employment by the rental park’s tenants association to challenge the validity of certain
rental increases, and the association has asked the inquirer to handle the matter.
We are asked if the inquirer may ethically undertake the representation. The Committee
sees no impropriety in the representation since, in teaching the course, the inquirer did nothing to
solicit the proposed employment. No “unsolicited advice” was given to laymen to obtain counsel
or litigate within the meaning of DR 2-104(A), since the subject matter of the contemplated
litigation was not discussed in the course which the inquirer taught.
Teaching college courses is a valuable public service and, as stated in Drinker, Legal
Ethics, p. 218:
When a lawyer has the opportunity to perform a service to the community which
will place him in the public eye, he need not hesitate to seek or accept it because
if successful he will appear frequently in the newspapers, and will enlarge his
circle of friends and acquaintances and thus attract new clients, some possibly
who have theretofore employed another lawyer. Where publicity is the normal
by-product of able and effective service, whether of a professional or
non-professional character, this is a kind of “advertisement” which is entirely
right and proper. Clients naturally gravitate to a lawyer who has successfully
represented their friends or who has obtained the confidence of the community by
effective public service. What is wrong is for the lawyer to augment by artificial
stimulus the publicity normally resulting from what he does, seeing to it that his
successes are broadcast and magnified.