The Florida bar is likely to adopt an ethics opinion that would make it easier for Florida lawyers to enter into co-counsel relationships with law firms in which non-lawyers have ownership stake -- or, in other words, to share fees with firms that share fees with non-lawyers. Only two jurisdictions in the US allow sharing fees with non-lawyers, but a number of foreign countries do.
This is a big change in approach since only two jurisdictions in the US currently allow sharing of fees with non-lawyers and it may open the door for even more changes including allowing lawyers to share fees with non-lawyers directly in Florida - which would be good news for Avvo, as discussed in previous posts below.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves, yet. The draft opinion emphasizes that it does not address a Florida Bar member
becoming a partner, shareholder, associate, or other formal arrangement in a
law firm that is permitted to have non-lawyer ownership in its home jurisdiction.
The committee will accept comments on the proposed opinion until Aug. 15. If no comments are received, the opinion will become final five days later.
If comments are received, the matter will be taken up at The Florida Bar's Fall Meeting
on October 13.
You can read the proposed opinion here.