Important lessons from our Atlantic ABS counterparts

Published: 09/10/2012

UK-based alternative business structures (ABSs) need to learn from the lessons of their more experienced US counterparts after a top California legal regulator revealed US law firms are running into trouble by allowing non-lawyers to play an active role in front-of-house relationships with clients.

Jayne Kim, Chief Prosecutor for the State Bar of California, has seen a growing number of complaints which have led to regulatory intervention by law firms.

Speaking at the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) conference for international lawyer regulators in London last week, she said:

“There are all kinds of trouble that happen when lawyers set up relationships with non-lawyers and are delegating way too much of the responsibility to these non-lawyers: failing to supervise them, [allowing] these non-lawyers to do the client intake, etcetera.”

Alternative business structures are designed to make legal services more accessible and simple. However these revelations highlight the importance of lawyers remaining in active control of client relationships.

Content correct at time of publication

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