(Approved September 11, 1998)
Question: May a law firm wholly own an accounting-practice subsidiary that is staffed by employees other than the firm’s lawyers and would perform services for the lawyer’s clients and others?
Response: Yes, although the law firm will be subject to the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct with respect to the provision of these law-related services in certain circumstances.
Analysis: In 1994 the American Bar Association addressed the general issue of attorneys who are involved with “law-related” services, such as those raised in this inquiry. After much debate, the ABA determined that it was not unethical for lawyers to offer non-legal services in conjunction with their law practices, but that the lawyers should be subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct with regard to those services.1 (more…)