How Investors May Impact the Future of Law Practice

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Jordan Furlong recently wrote another insightful post relating to the future of law practice in light of the upcoming ability of UK law firms to accept non-lawyer investors in 2011. Furlong summed up the likely impact of non-lawyer investors in law firms this way:

“Equity investment in or outside ownership of law firms will be neither a panacea nor an unalloyed good — mistakes will be made, lines will be crossed, abuses might well take place. No innovation arrives perfectly safe and sound. But what such investment does offer is something the legal services marketplace has needed for too long: law firm management singularly driven to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and above all, client satisfaction, because it makes business sense to do so.”

I also discussed some of the likely impacts shortly after the first Australian law firm public offering in 2007. While non-lawyer investment may result in the decline in professionalism that many lawyers fear, the decline has already been so significant in the last couple of decades that I’m not sure it would be that noticeable. I acknowledged some other detriments, but pointed to these additional benefits:

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