Question 8: What are the implications of non-lawyers owning or managing a law firm?

« Back to Blog

As background, please read excerpts from our discussion paper The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues and join the conversation below.

“The globalization of commerce and the rapid spread and adoption of technology are having significant effects on the Canadian legal industry. In many cases economic power has shifted to the consumer or client side, with buyers demanding more say on what lawyers do, how they do it, and how much and how they charge for it.

With new competitors already in the marketplace – such as paralegals, global legal publishers, and legal process outsourcers (LPOs) – and more on the horizon – law firms and individual lawyers will have to make important decisions on how to maintain a competitive advantage in the provision of legal services in Canada and globally.”

Executive Summary, Page 4.

“For the legal industry in Canada, increased competition, downward pressure on prices for legal services, potential excess capacity, and the possibility of low or no growth in many areas of practice have compelled firms and individual lawyers to re-examine their business structures and operating processes and practices. Many larger firms may be forced to adopt new management and hiring approaches to improve efficiency and economy. Alternative business structures (ABS) which feature non-lawyer ownership are already legal in England and Wales as are publically-traded firms in various jurisdictions outside Canada. Canadian law firms, large and small, and sole practitioners will have to consider new options for operating in a changing marketplace.”

Executive Summary, Page 5.

“…clients no longer accept that firms are the sole arbiter of price.  This pressure is forcing legal providers to re-examine their cost structures and to find ways to reduce or eliminate costs.”

Section 5.4 Prices/Costs, Page 22.

Question 8: What are the implications of non-lawyers owning or managing a law firm?

Consider this: What if anyone could sell legal services using employed lawyers? What if lawyers could obtain clients, infrastructure, and access to specialized expertise by joining a legal services franchise?

Join the conversation | Consultation paper

June 18, 2013 |
comments powered by Disqus