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December 2012 Archives

December 23, 2012

Opinion No. 12-03

UTAH STATE BAR

ETHICS ADVISORY OPINION COMMITTEE

Opinion No. 12-03

Issued December 13, 2012

ISSUE
1. May a community association management company profit from legal work performed by the company’s in-house attorney?

OPINION
2. A community association management company’s profiting from legal work performed by the company’s in-house attorney constitutes the improper sharing of fees with a non-lawyer in violation of Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4(a).

BACKGROUND
3. An attorney is employed as in-house counsel for a community association management company. Although the company does not profit from the legal work the attorney performs, the company believes that other community association management companies routinely profit from the legal work performed by their respective in-house attorneys. Specifically, these companies collect a fee from their clients for legal services at a rate that is higher than the cost the companies incur in employing their corporate attorneys. The issue addressed in this Opinion stems from this practice.

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