The Florida Bar

October 8, 1973
If utmost care is taken to avoid unethical conduct, lawyers may own a corporation that investigates prospective jurors for a set fee for members of The Florida Bar.

Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:

A group of lawyers desire to buy a corporation which provides a Select-a-Jury service. The inquiring lawyers ask if they may ethically:

Form a group of not more than fifteen legal entities (entity defined as a single practitioner, partnership, or professional association) to purchase and wholly own and control a corporation formed for the purpose of providing a "jury service." This service would investigate the general background of prospective jurors in the community by means other than personal confrontation of the prospective jurors. No member of The Florida Bar would act as an investigator and one single investigative criteria would be set and followed in regard to all persons investigated; there could be no "special orders" on particular cases with regard to the additional acquiring of information, calculated to discover a prospective juror's likely views on particular issues to be raised in future litigation. The Service would be operated on a day-to-day basis by a managing agent but overall control would be reposited in a Board of Directors or other similar body composed of ownership. The services provided would be available for purchase by any member of The Florida Bar at standard rates fixed in advance by the Board of Directors.

The Committee sees no ethical impropriety per se in the purchase of the corporation by the inquiring lawyers under the above quoted circumstances. However, the sensitive nature of the subject matter is such that the service will have to be managed with the utmost care to avoid unethical conduct.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]