Powered by Max Banner Ads
A few months ago, I wrote an article about a recent ABA proposal, which considered permitting law firm ownership structures that included non-lawyers (http://www.isba.org/sections/lome/newsletter/2012/02/welcometothepartynonlawyers). This most recent proposal at non-lawyer inclusion, like the others before it, did not pass.
For better or worse, legal/accounting shops, partnership level investigators, or equity investors sitting in on partner meetings are not in our near future. Time will tell whether the ABA made the right call or whether we should be taking the less restrictive route to law firm ownership like Australia, Canada, and Great Britain.
Though this form of law firm structure is not ABA sanctioned, only those lawyers sleeping under a rock for the past ten years (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvXqm0RdJms) might not realize that evolution our industry is at hand.
Such evolution will not be ABA sanctioned or directed, rather, this change will be client driven and it will transcend much more than the ownership structure. Perhaps the US legal market will never be a good place to grant anyone other than a lawyer ownership interest in a law firm
Nonetheless, the status quo (in its many forms) is not the future. We do not have a monopoly on information, our clients [rightfully] demand costs savings, degrees are [way] too expensive. Legalzoom recently filed for an IPO.
Just in case you were relying on VC equity or a novel service combination rollout to be your tipping point to future growth, it is back to the drawing board Now that you cannot bank on offering business startup advice with your accountant and web guru, or relying on venture capital, or luring over a business consultant with equity, how will you move your office forward?
Innovation is necessary, but because of our legal and ethical restrictions, it can be perceived as more difficult than fields that do not have such restrictions. Plus, lets face it, innovative is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when a client is hiring you. In other words, innovation it is not cash flow – it does not keep the daily gears churning. But, in the long run, it makes all the difference in the world.
So shake up things internally, shake up your service delivery, ask your peers how they are evolving, or better yet – ask your clients how they want you to evolve. The need for legal services remains strong. Lets make sure that we remain the ones driving those services.