US law firm structure debate set to continue
At an American Bar Associaition (ABA) ethics commission in April, a proposal that would have amended guidance to take a softer line on UK and Australian-style alternative business structures did not receive support. Some members also pressed ahead with a measure that would have ended any further work by the commission on the subject.
But the London-based newspaper, the Law Gazette, reports today that the motion was suspended indefinitely after a lengthy debate earlier this month, with many lawyers suggesting the matter could not be ignored.
Frederic Ury – a member of the ABA’s ethics commission – told the newspaper: ‘We do have an issue raised by regulators and lawyers asking us for some guidance on what happens when they get a matter from a firm in England and how they go about sharing those fees. As a profession and as a commission we decided that was something we should at and investigate.’
However, the decision was not met with universal praise, and supporters of the guillotine measure were keen to vent their anger. Lawrence Fox, from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, said: ‘Sharing fees is just as insidious when it is done overseas as it is in America. We are exporting our standards, not importing the lowest common denominator from other countries.’