News & Events

Authors

Related Practice Areas

Media Contact

Diana L. Courson
202.778.1871

ABA Formal Opinion 464 and Nonlawyer Partners: If You Can’t Have One, Can You Work With a Firm ‎That Does?‎

December 18, 2013
Thomas B. Mason, Rachel F. Cotton
ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct

In “ABA Formal Opinion 464 and Nonlawyer Partners: If You Can’t Have One, Can You Work With a Firm ‎That Does?” Zuckerman Spaeder LLP partner Thomas B. Mason and associate Rachel F. Cotton analyze ‎the many unresolved questions surrounding District of Columbia Rule 5.4(b), which permits lawyers to ‎practice law in a partnership in which a nonlawyer also has a financial interest—a rule that is ‎inconsistent with those in other legal jurisdictions across the country preventing nonlawyer ownership ‎of firms. Mason and Cotton point out that overall treatment of attorneys working for firms with ‎nonlawyer partners has not necessarily followed a steady trend. In addressing factors such as fee-‎sharing arrangements and practice privileges in other jurisdictions, bar association opinions on the ‎subject span the range of generally permissive to significantly restrictive. The authors conclude that ‎the newest opinion—ABA Formal Opinion 464, issued in August of 2013—straddles the inconsistencies ‎of the previous opinions and fails to resolve the issue.  ‎

Download Full PDF:

Offices