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                                         95 N.J.L.J. 70
                                        January 27, 1972


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Lawyer-Accountant-Insurance Advisor
Forming Service Company

    The inquirer asks whether employment under the following facts

would be permitted.

        I have been approached by an accountant and an insurance advisor with reference to the formation of a service company which would provide an as yet undetermined number of hours of accounting, insurance and legal advice to the subscribing members of this company's services. The services rendered by this company would be available to members of the general public who subscribed to these services for an as yet undetermined sum. The legal services would consist of advising clients with reference to minor problems which could be handled in a summary manner. In those instances where extensive legal investigation, consultation and services were required the client would be instructed as to what to do and what not to do pending his retaining an attorney of his choice. He would in this instance also be advised as to the minimum fee of the county bar association in the county in which he resides or in the county within which he expects to secure an attorney and also be advised as to what fee he might expect to pay. In these latter instances the attorney for said company would not be permitted to accept the client on a retained basis nor would the client be referred to any specific attorney.

    The Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility adopted by our Supreme Court, DR 3-103 provides:         (A)    A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

    This prohibition is not new. Under the former Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 33, partnerships between lawyers and members of other professions or non-professional persons were not permitted where any part of the partnership's employment consisted of the practice of law.
    In A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Opinion 239 (1942) it was held that a partnership between a lawyer and a certified public accountant to act as consultant in federal tax matters and to represent taxpayers before the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Board of Tax Appeals was improper and a violation of Canon 70. Also see A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Opinion 239 (1942), 54 (1931), 67 (1932), 194 (1939), 22 (1941), 234 (1942) and 201 (1940).
    In our opinion, therefore, the contemplated "service company" or association would be a violation of the Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

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