Case for non-lawyer ownership of firms passes a hurdle

November 26, 2012 A constitutional challenge to laws prohibiting non-lawyer ownership of law firms in New York has survived a hurdle and is set to be decided on its merits.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Jacoby & Meyers may amend its complaint to challenge all provisions of New York law that bar nonlawyer investment in law firms. The original claim challenged only the ethics rule and not other laws barring non-lawyer ownership.

The suit was previously dismissed by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who said that any opinion would be advisory since only the ethics rule was in dispute.

The motion to add legal challenge to the other provisions of New York state law succeeded and the case was remanded back to the district court, which will proceed to decide the constitutional issues.

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