21 April 2015
Modern Law Firm Management and Non-Lawyer Ownership
In the context of modern law firm management, should non-lawyer ownership be endorsed or encouraged?
This topic is explored in a paper co-authored by Slater and Gordon Group Managing Director Andrew Grech and Director of Creative Consequences, Tahlia Gordon.
The paper was released following a presentation by Andrew Grech to the Commonwealth Law Conference held in Glasgow on April 13, 2015.
Part 1 of the paper discusses the concerns raised by critics of Alternative Business Structures about the diminution of core values and professionalism as a result of non-lawyer ownership of law firms. It is argued that these concerns are unfounded and not based on empirical evidence.
Part 2 considers how Australia, England and Wales have amended their legislation to allow non-lawyer ownership and have put in place regulatory frameworks to ensure ethics and professional standards are protected and encouraged.
Part 3 argues that in addition to a robust regulatory framework, law firms themselves can effectively mitigate any risks that ethics and professionalism will be eroded. Slater and Gordon provides a case study of how a law firm which is externally owned effectively safeguards ethics and professional standards
Part 4 considers the new landscape for legal services and the profession today - both the benefits for consumers and the challenges facing lawyers, particularly in relation to the emergence of unregulated service providers.
The paper concludes with a discussion about how these challenges also present valuable opportunities for lawyers to survive and thrive.