Lawyers can refer clients to a finance company to help cover legal costs, but lawyers that hold an ownership stake in such a business must tell clients and direct them to independent advice before they take a loan, the American Bar Association said in a new ethics opinion.

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility published a formal opinion Tuesday that lays out a series of ethical concerns related to outside financing of legal work. The ABA’s opinions typically interpret how the bar association’s model rules of professional responsibility apply to issues that may affect a large swath of lawyers across the country.

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