NOBC Posts Resources on Global Developments

The National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC) is an organization “of legal professionals whose members enforce ethics rules that regulate the professional conduct of lawyers who practice law in the United States, Canada and Australia.”  When she was president of the NOBC, Tracy Kepler created an International Committee, which decided to create 4 subcommittees to investigate and provide information to NOBC  members about four areas of inquiry: Alternative Business Structures; Entity Regulation; Alternative Licensure ; and State and International Reciprocity

The work product from these committees has now been posted on a new NOBC “Global Resources” webpage.  These new pages contain useful information.  For example, the FAQ document about Entity Regulation was prepared with input from current or former US, Australian, Canadian and UK regulators, along with academics.   (The Entity Regulation Committee plans to update its materials periodically.)  These materials can be particularly useful when teaching Chapter 2, Chapter 3 (fee splitting) and Chapter 9.

SDNY Rejects Jacoby’s Suit Challenging Rule 5.4’s Prohibition on Outside Investment & Nonlawyer Partners

As the ABA Journal reports, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed a complaint brought by law firm Jacoby & Myers challenging Rule 5.4’s ban on nonlawyer partnership & outside investment in law firms.  This follows a remand from the Second Circuit. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have said they plan to appeal the decision to the Second Circuit.  The suit, which raises 1st and 14th Amendment arguments, cited ideas discussed by casebook author Renee Knake.

Outside investment in law firms, which is sometimes referred to as alternative business structures or ABS, is available in England and Wales and Australia (and is under consideration in parts of Canada) but remains controversial.  For example, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 circulated a discussion paper on the topic, but in the face of negative reaction announced that it would not consider the issue further.   (See here for my article on the work of the Ethics 20/20 Commission).