Arizona has become the first state in the US to formally file for the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) in the US. The Arizona task force on the delivery of legal services has filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court which suggests eliminating rules which prevent fee sharing with non-lawyers and entering into a partnership with non-lawyers.
The petition is quoted as saying “Eliminating the rule would mean, for example, that a professional nonlawyer administrator in a law firm could have an ownership interest or that a Fortune 500 company could be a passive investor. It also could mean that a law firm could attract nonlawyer talent… by providing equity in the firm”.
The petition has also suggested introducing limited license legal practitioners to the state, filling a gap for lower-cost legal services and helping to bridge the justice gap in the state.
Vulnerability to Legal Misconduct: Qualitative Study of Regulatory Decisions Involving Problem Lawyers and Their Clients
An emerging body of scholarship discusses ‘vulnerability’ as an antecedent of legal misconduct. One conceptualization of vulnerability indicates that an individual has greater susceptibility to risk of harm, and safeguards may protect against that risk of harm. This empirical study adds to the normative research with a qualitative analysis of 72 lawyers with multiple complaints and at least one hearing, paid financial misconduct claim, or striking from the roll (“problem lawyers”) in Victoria, Australia, between 2005 and 2015 through 311 regulatory decisions. We found that problem lawyers were disproportionately likely to be male, over age 45, and work in a sole or small practice. A quarter of these lawyers suffered from health impairments and among the clients harmed, half had cognitive impairments, were older age, or non-native English speakers. These findings underscore the need to better understand vulnerabilities to promote lawyer well-being, protect exposed clients, and reduce lapses in professionalism.
- Tara Sklar, University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law
- Jennifer Schulz Moore, University of New South Wales (UNSW) – Faculty of Law
- Yamna Taouk, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
- Marie M Bismark, University of Melbourne
This paper, by Diane Ellis, was first published in 2002 in The Professional Lawyer by the American Bar Association.
It was presented, with permission, at the 2016 International Conference of Legal Regulators.
Session title: Diversion dos and don’ts