Nonlawyer Ownership: It’s Coming – UPDATED

(Updated at 4:32 PM on June 21)

Last month, I posted a series of blogs on whether Rule 5.4 should be amended to allow non-lawyer ownership of law firms (“Alternative Business Structures”).  The series did not generate much response.

I don’t think I can let the issue go without attention. So, as appropriate, I’ll call attention to it.

Joe Borstein of Above The Law has Legal Zoom co-founder Eddie Hartman’s thoughts on whether Alternative Business Structures are the solution to the “quiet crisis” in the legal profession.

Meanwhile, The American Lawyer posts on Big Accounting’s continued push into the legal market.

Finally, today’s ABA Journal reports that  Wal-Mart law firms are here.

In related news, the North Carolina state legislature passed a bill that redefines the “practice of law.”  The bill authorizes online services to provide blank legal documents, provided that the services register with the state bar, refer dissatisfied customers to the state bar, and that the forms include disclaimers warning that blank forms are not a substitute for legal advice.

One thought on “Nonlawyer Ownership: It’s Coming – UPDATED

  1. […] Last year, I posted a series of blogs in which I asked whether it’s time to rescind 5.4 and authorize lawyers to practice in so-called “Alternative Business Structures.”  There are strong arguments in favor of ABS.  Chief among them, the infusion of capital, ingenuity, talent, and expertise in running a business might make lawyers and firms more efficient, more flexible, and better suited to provide clients with access to cost-effective legal services.  My posts aren’t all that original.  Rather, they summarize an ABA issues paper.  Nevertheless, I concluded that nonlawyer ownership is coming. […]


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