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Home / Case Digests / Committee on Professional Ethics — Firm Marketing: Opinion 887

Committee on Professional Ethics — Firm Marketing: Opinion 887

NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics

Firm Marketing

Non-Attorney Marketer

Opinion 887

Background: An inquiring law firm asked whether it may hire a non-attorney to market to potential corporate or union clients the firm’s pre-paid legal services plans and its services as a provider of pre-paid legal services. Further, the inquiring law firm asked whether the non-attorney marketer may be paid a bonus for signing up pre-paid legal services to plan sponsors.

Opinion: A lawyer or law firm may have a non-lawyer marketer who engages in only that advertising and solicitation in which the lawyer or law firm could engage. The lawyer or law firm may have a profit sharing plan that pays bonus compensation to the non-lawyer marketer based on overall profits of the firm or on a percentage of the employee’s base salary. However, the bonus compensation may not be based on referrals of particular matters and may not be based on the profitability of the firm or the department for which the employee markets if such profits are substantially related the employee’s marketing efforts.