FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
July 13, 1977
Revised September 11, 1992
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
A retiring lawyer may write a form letter to his clients proposing to (1) place the client’s files in
the hands of a named attorney who will assist the retiring lawyer in closing out his practice, or
(2) assist the client in putting his file in the hands of an attorney chosen by the client, or (3)
return the files directly to the client.
EC 4-2, DR 2-107
Vice-chairman Taylor stated the opinion of the committee:
In reply to an appropriate inquiry which need not be quoted:
It is the opinion of the Committee that a retiring lawyer may write a form letter to his
clients advising that (1) he proposes, after the expiration of a reasonable, and stated, time period,
to place his files in the hands of a named lawyer who will assist him in closing out his practice
unless during that period the client advises otherwise; (2) he will assist the client in putting the
files in the hands of the attorney each client chooses, and (3) offering, if the client wishes, to
return the files directly to the client. See EC 4-2.
It is also the opinion of the Committee that it would be proper, subject to the approval of
the client, for a lawyer taking over cases from a retiring lawyer to divide the fees in the case with
the retiring lawyer on a basis of the amount of work done by the retiring lawyer before the
second lawyer takes the case. DR 2-107. No division of the fee should be based to any degree on
“getting the business” or as a purchase of the retiring lawyer’s practice, unless such is done in
compliance with Rule 4-1.17 (which permits the sale of a law practice effective January 1, 1993).