jordanfurlong + clementi + ethics   23

LawNext Episode 9: Bill Henderson on Changing the Non-Lawyer Ownership Rules | LawSites
Should legal ethics rules be changed to allow non-lawyer ownership of legal services providers? So controversial is the question that it was major news in July when the State Bar of California voted to appoint a task force to study and make recommendations on the issue. What spurred the bar to take this action was the Legal Market Landscape Report it commissioned from William D. Henderson, professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Henderson is my guest on today’s episode to discuss his findings and recommendations.
regulation  governance  clementi  ethics 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Nova Scotia’s Stealth Revolution - Not Just For Lawyers
With these decisions, Nova Scotia has gone beyond the theory of its Policy Framework in order to implement both entity regulation and compliance-based regulation in a concrete manner. While Nova Scotia’s regulations in this regard will continue to evolve, and in all likelihood evolve considerably, that does not detract from the significance of these initial, ground breaking decisions. Admittedly, from the perspective of England & Wales and Australia, there is nothing ground breaking about them, given that those countries adopted entity regulation as well as “outcomes focused regulation” (England & Wales) and “proactive, management based regulation” (or “PMBR,” a term Ted Schneyer coined for Australia) quite some time ago. However, from the perspective of Canada and the United States, the NSBS decisions are ground breaking indeed. No other Canadian province or US state has even come close to adopting entity regulation or compliance-based regulation to this extent. Not yet, anyway. (Illinois and Colorado have taken tentative first steps).
regulation  governance  ethics  clementi 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Prism Legal Law Firm Ownership: An Evidence-Based Approach - Prism Legal
When it comes to who can own US law firms, we seem stuck in the pre-enlightenment age of speculation and dogma. Articles and commentary I read about law firm ownership presume much and present no evidence. This is perplexing for a profession that prides itself on analytic thinking and marshaling evidence.

Bar regulators must enter their own age of enlightenment. First, they must be honest about the goal: protect lawyers or clients (and perhaps acknowledge consumers and corporations need different rules). Then they must act on evidence.

With the goal clear, search for evidence that supports a plan to achieve the goal. And be willing to re-visit the plan over time as new evidence emerges.

On law firm ownership, I offer two observations. First, Australia and the United Kingdom allowed, more than five years ago, ownership by those not lawyers. Their skis have not fallen. I read many articles from both jurisdictions and none reports client harm.

And second, consider who really controls large US law firms. A September 1st American Lawyer article title asks “As Firms Centralize Management, Are Equity Partners Employees?” It suggests control by a small subset of partners on an executive committee. If true, how does control by a handful compare to the checks and balances of an outside Board of Directors and/or shareholders with a vote?

So my answer, not in the list of choices at Adam Smith, Esq. is “What are we trying to protect exactly and what evidence should guide our answer?”
clementi  ethics  governance 
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
ICAEW: legal professional privilege creates “serious distortion” in market - Legal Futures
The presence of legal professional privilege (LPP) creates a “serious distortion to the competitive environment” of the legal services market, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has argued.

The ICAEW said the result was that clients may seek professional services from firms based on the availability of privilege, “rather than on the basis of a more cost-effective service”.

The institute, which called last week for tax accountants to be able to carry out all the reserved legal activities, including litigation and rights of audience, renewed its attack on LPP in a submission from its representative arm to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review of the legal services market.
accountants  competition  ethics  clementi 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Let battle commence: accountants demand right to carry out all reserved legal activities - Legal Futures
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has outlined plans which would enable accountants to carry out all the reserved legal activities, including litigation and rights of audience.
accountants  clementi  competition  ethics 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Legal Services Regulation: The Policy Framework | Nova Scotia Barristers' Society
4.      In order to ensure the public continues to benefit from an independent legal profession, together with the protection afforded by it (e.g. lawyer-client privilege, high ethical practice standards and security of trust funds and property), the Society’s regulation will, as a matter of principle and as confirmed by the regulatory objectives, enhance public protection. However it will also, by limiting its scope of regulation, enable the expanded delivery of legal services.

5.      The Society will seek amendments to the Legal Profession Act and will amend its regulations to state that its public interest role is to regulate the delivery of legal services in the province in accordance with the approved Regulatory Objectives.

6.      The Society will regulate the delivery of legal services by lawyers and will also regulate the delivery of legal services by legal entities, which include lawyers, law firms, law corporations, law departments and other similar entities. The type of legal services and clients of the legal entity will be the key determinants of the extent of risk there is to the public from such practices, and therefore the nature of the risk-focused regulation. Lawyers and legal entities will be entitled to practice law / deliver legal services, which may be defined as follows:

The delivery of legal services involves the provision of services in circumstances where the application of legal principles and judgment with regard to those circumstances or the objectives of a person requires the service provider to have the knowledge and skill of a person trained in the law.
regulation  governance  clementi  ethics 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES Consumer panel: "remarkable innovation" in the market but is deregulation going too far?
Further, “the dire predictions about a collapse in ethics and reduction in access to justice as a result of ABS have not materialised”. The report said: “There have been no major disciplinary failings by ABS firms or unusual levels of complaints in the Legal Ombudsman’s published data.
regulation  ethics  clementi 
december 2014 by JordanFurlong
3 Geeks and a Law Blog: Texas Scold 'Em
They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  Apparently that even includes self-deluding opinions. Yesterday, a friend pointed me toward an article in Texas Law Book entitled Get Wall Street Out of the Practice of Law. (Subscription Required) In this opinion piece, the author, a former Big Law partner and current Legal Communications Advisor, offers her own opinion on the Texas Bar Opinion No. 642.  Opinion 642 is the one that says that "Texas Law Firms" (Is that any firm with an office in Texas? Firms with offices only in Texas? Or, firms with headquarters in Texas?) cannot have non-attorney staff with the title of Officer or Principal. So, in other words, no CMO, CTO, CIO, CDO, COO, or CXO unless, they also happen to have a JD. WTF?
ethics  competition  clementi 
july 2014 by JordanFurlong
Legal Ethics Forum: When and How Does Change in Lawyer Regulation Happen?
The 20/20 commission (same disclosure) did some good things, but  around the edges. It missed  opportunities to be visionary (to see things 20/20, as it was charged), but  it can be partly excused for two reasons.  First, the hostility of a large minority in the HOD even to permit talking about rules allowing some lay investment in for-profit law firms -- just talking -- cast a broader pall and led 20/20 to stay within safe borders. 

Second, the current bar leadership will not be bold. In this, it is like the leaders of the 50s through the early 80s. It will be the next generations that approach the issues with  appetite for change.

A datum of proof (not unique) was an exchange at a 20/20 hearing with a prominent and thoughtful participant in these matters and who spoke against any rule change that would allow non-lawyers to have any equity interest in law firms, however small.

Would your position be the same, he was asked, if you assumed that a modest change would both improve the quality of advice to clients and  result in no misconduct by the non-lawyers or the lawyers they work with whatsoever?

Yes, he said.

So there you have it. We're not dealing with empiricism and evidence-based rules -- the bar does not emprically test its own empirical predictions of the effects of  rules it supports or opposes -- but with ideology or maybe a better word is faith. 
ethics  clementi  innovation 
june 2014 by JordanFurlong
Professionalism and the “Fear of Walmart”: Would you like some bananas with that tort? – Slaw
In 1983, the American Bar Association adopted the ABA Model Rules that are the basis for most of the current codes of conduct in the United States. The drafting body was known as the Kutak Commission. The Kutak Commission proposed a rule permitting, but regulating, non-lawyer ownership of law practice entities. Proposed Model Rule 5.4 would have permitted a lawyer to be “employed by an organization in which a financial interest is held or managerial authority is exercised by a non-lawyer . . . but only if the terms of the relationship provide in writing that”:
clementi  competition  innovation  ethics 
april 2014 by JordanFurlong
SCOTUS accepts teeth-whitening case; could decision impair state bars' ability to regulate lawyers?
The amicus brief (PDF) filed by the North Carolina State Bar argues that the 4th Circuit decision upholding the FTC’s power could affect state bars’ power to regulate lawyer ethics and the unlicensed practice of law. “Under the 4th Circuit’s decision,” the amicus brief says, "the state bar and its councilors will face antitrust claims asserted by disgruntled lawyers and by nonlawyers whose conduct constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.”
clementi  ethics  governance  competition 
march 2014 by JordanFurlong
Creative Arrangement With Nonlegal Business Must Clear Wide Range of Potential Hurdl... | Bloomberg BNA
Developing the guidance was challenging, Hyland said. “We had to approach it as an issue-spotting opinion rather than giving definitive answers,” and as the committee worked on the opinion, new issues kept popping up, she said. “Every time we thought we were done, we realized there was another issue,” she said.
ethics  clementi 
february 2014 by JordanFurlong
ABA ethics opinion sparks renewed debate over nonlawyer ownership of law firms
An opinion issued recently by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility could ignite a debate over the concept of nonlawyer ownership of law firms only months after the association’s House of Delegates sidestepped the issue while considering recommendations of the Commission on Ethics 20/20.
clementi  ethics 
december 2013 by JordanFurlong
Utopia, Dystopia and Alternative Business Structures – Slaw
Regulation of lawyers doesn’t stop innovation. It just dictates where innovation won’t happen.
regulation  governance  ethics  clementi 
november 2013 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES ABA: US lawyers can share fees with ABS non-lawyers » LEGAL FUTURES
An American Bar Association (ABA) ethics opinion has opened the door to US law firms sharing fees with counterparts in the UK, even when non-lawyers within alternative business structures (ABS) will also benefit.
clementi  ethics  governance 
august 2013 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES Leading legal expenses insurer sets up an ABS » LEGAL FUTURES
Well-known legal expenses insurer ULR Additions has won approval to set up an alternative business structure (ABS).
clementi  ethics 
july 2013 by JordanFurlong
External ownership and the forked tongue of ethics « StephenMayson
Where, then, is the public interest case for lawyer-only ownership? In the battle between assertion and evidence, assertion is best for lawyers because there is no evidence that external ownership is bad for clients or law firms.
ethics  clementi 
april 2012 by JordanFurlong
DLA Piper faces regional revolt over LawVest investments | News | The Lawyer
The growing row over private investments made by partners at DLA Piper, exclusively revealed by The Lawyer, shows no sign of dying down, with angry questions asked during a conference call held yesterday with regional partners to discuss the matter.
clementi  ethics 
march 2012 by JordanFurlong
Strategic Legal Technology :: Outside Investment in Law Firms - A Plus for Legal Tech?
So I was interested to see a challenge this week to ethics rules barring non-lawyer investment in law firms. Jacoby & Meyers’ Newest Fight: Helping Nonlawyers Own Law Firms in the Wall Street Journal reports on Tuesday that J&M is challenging rules that restrict non-lawyer investment in law firms. Read the article for quotes illustrating both sides of the debate. See also Suit Challenges N.Y. Prohibition of Non-Lawyer Firm Ownership (NYLJ, 20 May 2011)
ethics  it  clementi 
may 2011 by JordanFurlong
Alternative Business Structures: some professional myths- Legalweek
Lord Falconer was recently reported to have said that Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) are likely to lead to pressure on lawyers' ethics, and that legal education needs to be adapted to cope with it.
Clementi  ethics 
february 2011 by JordanFurlong
SRA reaches conflicts impasse as firms remain cool on reform- Legalweek
The proposed reforms would make it easier for firms to take on multiple roles in related transactions, potentially allowing firms to act for both parties on a corporate transaction with client permission.

The rules cover conflicts of interest and duties of confidentiality and disclosure, with the controversial proposal allowing "firms to act for sophisticated clients in any situation, excluding litigation, where there is a conflict between them", provided clients consent.
ethics  Clementi 
february 2010 by JordanFurlong

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