Monday, April 25, 2016

The equivalent of a legal TED talk topic: Should non-lawyers be allowed to own law firms?

This is the equivalent of a legal "TED talk" topic: what is the future of the legal profession? Will it stay its same old way, stodgy and traditional, or will it start to change?

It's currently against the rules of professional ethics that govern lawyers for a non-lawyer to own a law firm. Most states also bar law firms and non-lawyers from sharing or splitting fees.

This is starting to change, with some states allowing fee sharing, also known as multidisciplinary practice, but overall, not OK.


An ABA commission is seeking comments on an “issues paper” examining ethics rules that bar nonlawyers from owning and managing law firms.
The ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services “revived a contentious debate” on the issue with a request for comments, which are accepted until May 2, according to the ABA BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct.
The commission is asking whether it should make a recommendation to the ABA House of Delegates regarding the ethics rules that bar nonlawyer ownership, according to the article. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and ethics rules in most states bar nonlawyer ownership.

Article here (via aba journal). 

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