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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 64-75
January 13, 1965

It would be proper for a law firm to become affiliated with an advertising corporation for the sole purpose of obtaining group medical and hospitalization insurance benefits.

Canons: 34, 35

Chairman Smith stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar states that his firm represents a Florida corporation engaged in the general advertising business in this state. One member of the law firm is a member of the board of directors of the corporation. The inquiring lawyer has been advised that the relationship between his firm and the corporation is such that the two organizations may be considered affiliated for the purpose of obtaining group medical and hospitalization insurance at rates lower than those which normally would be available to the law firm. The inquiry is whether it would be ethically proper for the law firm to become affiliated with the advertising corporation for the purpose of obtaining the insurance benefits mentioned.

It is, of course, improper for lawyers engaged in the general practice of law to so associate themselves with other organizations as to lose their independent status and their identity as lawyers engaged in the practice of law for the benefit of the public. Provided, however, that the affiliation suggested would be nothing more than a technical one for the purpose of obtaining the insurance benefits, it is the opinion of this Committee that the arrangement would not be improper. Of course, the Canons prohibit the division of fees or legal compensation with a layman or like organization. Care should be taken that the insurance benefits are in no way calculated to represent fees for services rendered to the advertising organization. Our opinion is based upon the assumption that the insurance benefits are in no way related to compensation for professional services rendered.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]