Hastings Law Journal


Rules prohibiting nonlawyers from holding ownership or managerial interests in law firms remain on the books in practically every jurisdiction in the United States. This Article examines the history of these restrictions and concludes that the rules cannot be justified as necessary to protect the consumer because less restrictive alternatives are available. Indeed, the rules seem to owe their surprising tenacity more to the fact that they serve the profession's economic self-interest than to any valid public purpose. This Article argues that there is a need and a demand for innovative business arrangements between lawyers and nonlawyers. Such arrangements would provide multidisciplinary services and would allow infusions of capital, enabling them to serve the public more effectively and efficiently. Ideally, the ABA should lead the" way to reform in this area, but to date it has failed to do so. Accordingly, this Article suggests a number of reforms at the state and federal level designed to change the business canons to meet the needs of contemporary society.

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