End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library
As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.
Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.
We regret any inconvenience.
Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.
Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
Comment - 5.7
 When a lawyer performs law-related services, sometimes referred to as “ancillary business,” or controls an organization that does so, there exists the potential for ethical problems. Principal among these is the possibility that the person for whom the law-related services are performed fails to understand that the services may not carry with them the protections normally afforded as part of the client-lawyer relationship. The recipient of the law-related services may expect, for example, that the protection of client confidences, prohibitions against representation of persons with conflicting interests, and obligations of a lawyer to maintain professional independence apply to the provision of law-related services when that may not be the case.
 Rule 5.7 applies to the provision of law-related services by a lawyer even when the lawyer does not provide any legal services to the person for whom the law-related services are performed and whether the law-related services are performed through a law firm or a separate entity. The rule identifies the circumstances in which all of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the provision of law-related services. Even when those circumstances do not exist, however, the conduct of a lawyer involved in the provision of law-related services is subject to those rules that apply generally to lawyer conduct, regardless of whether the conduct involves the provision of legal services. See, e.g., Rule 8.4.
 When law-related services are provided by a lawyer under circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer’s provision of legal services to clients, the lawyer in providing the law-related services must adhere to the requirements of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct as provided in division (a)(1). Even when the law-related and legal services are provided in circumstances that are distinct from each other, for example through separate entities or different support staff within the law firm, the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the lawyer as provided in division (a)(2) unless the lawyer takes reasonable measures to assure that the recipient of the law-related services knows that the services are not legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not apply.
 Law-related services also may be provided through an entity that is distinct from that through which the lawyer provides legal services. If the lawyer individually or with others has control of such an entity’s operations or owns an interest in the entity, the rule requires the lawyer to take reasonable measures to assure that each person using the services of the entity knows that the services provided by the entity are not legal services and that the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct that relate to the client-lawyer relationship do not apply. A lawyer’s control of an entity extends to the ability to direct its operation. Whether a lawyer has control will depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.
 When a client-lawyer relationship exists with a person who is referred by a lawyer to a separate law-related service entity controlled by the lawyer, individually or with others, the lawyer must comply with Rule 1.8(a).
 In taking the reasonable measures referred to in division (a)(2) to assure that a person using law-related services understands the practical effect or significance of the inapplicability of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, the lawyer should communicate to the person receiving the law-related services, in a manner sufficient to ensure that the person understands the significance of the fact, that the relationship of the person to the business entity will not be a client-lawyer relationship. The communication should be made before entering into an agreement for provision of or providing law-related services and preferably should be in writing.
 The burden is upon the lawyer to show that the lawyer has taken reasonable measures under the circumstances to communicate the desired understanding.
 A lawyer should take special care to keep separate the provision of law-related and legal services to minimize the risk that the recipient will assume that the law-related services are legal services. The risk of such confusion is especially acute when the lawyer renders both types of services with respect to the same matter. Under some circumstances the legal and law-related services may be so closely entwined that they cannot be distinguished from each other, and the requirement of disclosure and consultation imposed by division (a)(2) of the rule cannot be met. In such a case a lawyer will be responsible for assuring that both the lawyer’s conduct and, to the extent required by Rule 5.3, that of nonlawyer employees in the distinct entity that the lawyer controls complies in all respects with the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.
 A broad range of economic and other interests of clients may be served by lawyers’ engaging in the delivery of law-related services. Examples of law-related services include providing title insurance, financial planning, accounting, trust services, real estate counseling, legislative lobbying, economic analysis, social work, psychological counseling, tax preparation, and patent, medical, or environmental consulting.
 When a lawyer is obliged to accord the recipients of such services the protections of those rules that apply to the client-lawyer relationship, the lawyer must take special care to heed the proscriptions of the rules addressing conflict of interest [Rules 1.7 to 1.11, especially Rules 1.7(a)(2) and 1.8(a), (b) and (f)], and scrupulously adhere to the requirements of Rule 1.6 relating to disclosure of confidential information. The promotion of the law-related services must also in all respects comply with Rules 7.1 to 7.3, dealing with advertising and solicitation. In that regard, lawyers should take special care to identify the obligations that may be imposed as a result of a jurisdiction’s decisional law.
 When the full protections of all of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct do not apply to the provision of law-related services, principles of law external to the rules, for example, the law of principal and agent, govern the legal duties owed to those receiving the services. Those other legal principles may establish a different degree of protection for the recipient with respect to confidentiality of information, conflicts of interest and permissible business relationships with clients. See also Rule 8.4.
 Division (d) makes the prohibitions and disclosures imposed in divisions (b) and (c) applicable to all lawyers in a lawyer’s firm where the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the firm controls or owns an interest in a business that provides law-related services, and every lawyer in a firm that controls or owns an interest in a business that provides law-related services.
Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility
The Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility contains no provision analogous to Rule 5.7. However, the rule is consistent with Advisory Opinion No. 94-7 of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.
Comparison to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 5.7(a)(2) is expanded to include a lawyer who owns an interest in an entity, in addition to a lawyer who controls an entity.
Added to Rule 5.7 are divisions (b) and (c), which contain reciprocal prohibitions and disclosures when a lawyer controls or owns an interest in a business that provides law-related services. Specifically, division (b) prohibits a lawyer who controls or owns an interest in a business that provides a law-related service from requiring customers of the business to agree to legal representation by the lawyer as a condition of engagement of the law-related services. Additionally, prior to performing legal services for a customer of a business that provides law-related services, division (b) requires the lawyer to notify the customer that the customer may obtain legal services elsewhere.
Conversely, division (c) prohibits a lawyer who controls or owns an interest in a business that provides law-related services from requiring a client to use the services of the law-related business as a condition of the engagement for legal services. Additionally, a lawyer who controls or owns an interest in a business that provides law-related services must disclose the interest to the client, and the fact that the client may obtain the law-related services elsewhere, prior to providing the law-related services to the client.
Rule 5.7 also includes a new division (d), which makes the prohibitions and disclosures imposed in divisions (b) and (c) applicable to (1) all lawyers in a lawyer’s firm who know about the lawyer’s interest in a law-related business, and (2) all lawyers who work in a firm that controls or owns an interest in a business that provides a law-related service.
Model Rule 5.7(b) has been redesignated as division (e) with no substantive changes.