NY State Bar’s ethics committee: NY lawyers can’t practice law in the state if they are part of a UK alternative business structure law firm
The Wall Street Journal law blog on the NY State Bar’s attitude to their lawyers practising as part of an ABS law firm:
“No major U.K. law firm, that we know of, has taken advantage of the new ownership structures permitted under provisions of the Legal Services Act, which passed in October, but several have expressed interest.
A recent ethics opinion by the New York State Bar, the largest in the country with 77,000 members, may give them pause — if they want to maintain (or expand) their presence here, anyway.
The bar’s ethics committee ruled that New York lawyers can’t practice law in the state if they are part of U.K. law firm with nonlawyer owners.
The committee considered this scenario: Lawyers licensed to practice in New York enter a business relationship with a U.K. firm that has non-lawyer owners and managers. The New York lawyers establish a New York office for the firm and represent New York clients. They don’t share confidential information with the non-lawyers and they abide by U.K. rules.
The ethics committee said the proposed arrangement would violate an ethics rule that forbids a lawyer from practicing law for profit with an entity that includes a nonlawyer owner.”
The FT is also covering the story.
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