All U.S. jurisdictions (except DC) prohibit anyone not a lawyer from owning an equity interest in a law firm. Proponents of the prohibition have argued that it is an element of legal professionalism and serves the interests of lawyers' clients. Great Britain and Australia have recently abandoned this prohibition, arguing that clients may be better served by well-financed practice organizations that can acquire technology and other resources for efficient practice. Both countries have substituted regulation of practice entities' behavior for limitations on who their owners may be.
This Teleforum explores whether any changes now should be made in the U.S. approach. Our panelists have been prominent in the current debate about this issue.
- Mr. Francis J. Menton, Jr., Partner, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
- Prof. Thomas D. Morgan, Oppenheim Professor of Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law, George Washington University Law School
- Mr. John E. Thies, President, Illinois State Bar Association, and Shareholder, Webber & Thies, P.C.
- Moderator: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society