ABA considers allowing non-lawyers to have a stake in US law firms

October 29, 2011 Here is an interesting article in the NY Times that takes a look at developments around the world with respect to outside investment in law firms.

Australia and more recently England have reformed the law to allow for non-lawyers to own and control legal practices, and the idea is being canvassed for introduction into the US, with the ethics commission of the American Bar Association proposing a plan to end the industry’s fidelity to the traditional partnership model. According to reports the draft proposal will recommend that other professional service providers — like accountants, economists and social workers — will be able to partner with lawyers and own up to 25 percent of a law firm.

Such reforms remain controversial, with proponents arguing that they will increase competition, efficiency and accessibility, while opponents say that the profit motive will undermine the integrity of the legal services industry.

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