Law Firms, Ethics, and Equity Capital: A Conversation
36 Pages Posted: 11 May 2007
This paper is an exchange among Bruce Macewen, Milton Regan and Larry Ribstein on the potential implications of pending legislation in the United Kingdom that would permit outside non-lawyer investment in law firms. Such ownership is forbidden by ethics rules in the United States, but the participants discuss whether the rules would permit a law firm to sell derivative securities reflecting the value of the firm. The discussion quickly expands into an analysis of the possible impact of publicly-traded law firms on the global market in legal services, the obligations of lawyers to their clients, the role of lawyers in sustaining a well-functioning legal system, and the self-understanding of lawyers as professionals. With significant change in law firm financing just over the horizon, the aim of the paper is to prompt a wide-ranging discussion about the future of the legal profession in a global economy.
Keywords: non-lawyer, law firms
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