Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility


What does the term “Of Counsel” mean? How do I become “Of Counsel” to a firm?


The term “Of Counsel” is now used in so many contexts that there is no one standard or acceptable definition within the legal community. Historically, the term was assigned to retired senior partners as an honorific connoting availability to consult with the partners where their counsel or experience was needed.

Such a limited connotation is no longer useful. For a variety of reasons, the term is now evoked to describe 1) part- time relationships; 2) retired partners; 3) probationary partners-to-be; 4) permanent associates. Some questions that come to The Practice Resource Center of The Florida Bar regarding "of counsel" arrangements, such as “Is the of counsel an employee?” and “Can we have multiple of counsel relationships?”, are more properly handled by the Bar’s ethics hotline (800) 235-8619.

You may also want to review the Ethics Informational Packet on Of Counsel.