The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 73-20

October 8, 1973
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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.