The Bar’s Professional Ethics Committee is considering if it is permissible for a Florida lawyer to be a passive investor in an alternative business structure (ABS) in another state that allows nonlawyer ownership of law firms.

After spirited debate during the Fall Meeting October 28, the committee voted 26-9 in favor of having staff draft an opinion which would allow the inquiring Florida lawyer to invest in an Arizona entity that is expected to practice law in Arizona.

On March 21, Bar staff initially declined to issue an opinion based on a lack of Florida precedent in this area. The inquirers, however, requested the Professional Ethics Committee review the denial.