The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
OPINION 73-12
September 17, 1973
It would not be unethical for two attorneys employed by one professional association to form a second professional association of their own and then contract to do legal work only for the first professional association, provided that attorney-client relationships are unaffected.

Opinion: 71-58

Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:

A husband and wife who are practicing attorneys employed by one professional association desire to form a second professional association in which they would be the only members. The second professional association would then contract to do legal work only for the first professional association. Inquiry is made as to whether there are any ethical objections to the formation of the second professional association.

Provided that the lawyer-client relationship remains exactly the same as if the second professional association did not exist, a majority of the Committee is of the opinion that the formation of the second professional association would not be unethical.

Committeeman Massey dissents on the basis that Florida Opinion 71-58 [since withdrawn] should be applicable to the instant inquiry with the result of a finding that one professional association is enough. The only valid reason for the professional association is to obtain tax advantages not otherwise available to the legal profession. Its use should be ethically limited so as to preclude two-tier legal organizations or interlocking professional associations of lawyers since the impact has implications on the relationships between lawyers and their clients and the obligations and professional responsibilities owed by an attorney.




[Revised: 08-24-2011]