NEW YORK – A federal appeals court on Friday rejected an attempt to loosen restrictions on private investment in the legal industry, dismissing arguments that ethics rules on so-called “fee splitting” impinge on lawyers’ First Amendment rights.

The decision, which affirms a 2015 district court ruling, is a blow to Los Angeles-based personal injury firm Jacoby & Meyers, which has fought a nearly six-year legal battle against the prohibition on non-lawyers investing in law firms and sharing in legal fees. 

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