The Florida Bar

Special Committee: Special Commission on MDP / Ancillary Business

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The Special Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice and Ancillary Business has been charged with enabling lawyers to participate in business ventures not engaged in the practice of law in conformance with The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, through research and development of business models, prototype forms, ethical guidance and educational programs. The commission was appointed after The Florida Bar Board of Governors June 2000 resolution against multidisciplinary practice, which the board found inconsistent with core values of the legal profession.

The commission also has developed two sample disclosure forms that it suggests lawyers might use in connection with a lawyer’s ancillary business. One form is for a lawyer’s use in referring the lawyer’s client to the lawyer’s ancillary business. The Affiliated Business Disclosure form discloses the lawyer’s interest in the ancillary business and informs the client that the client will not have the protections of the attorney-client relationship in dealing with the ancillary business. The second form – Affiliated Law Firm Disclosure could be used for customers of the ancillary business, to inform them that they do not have an attorney-client relationship with the lawyer who owns the business by virtue of being a customer. Neither of these forms are required in order to comply with a lawyer’s ethical obligations while engaging in an ancillary business. Any lawyer is free to modify these forms to suit the lawyer’s individual needs and concerns. The commission also seeks comments on these disclosure forms.