Nonlawyer Firm Ownership – I Think It’s Scary and Wrong.

Read today over at Law.com about a growing trend in having law firms owned by NON-lawyers.  Wow. 

To read the article, originally published by Corporate Counsel, check out “IBM General Counsel Robert Weber on Nonlawyer Firm Ownership.”

I agree with Mr. Weber.

Perhaps this is the final nail in the coffin of law being a profession and not a business.

Long ago, when all those challenges to solicitation regulation began hitting the U.S. Supreme Court right along with the local and state bars and there was an outcry that “country club solicitation” was unacceptably elitist … and the doors were opened to lawyer advertising and such, well I thought I got it.

Law practices were profit-making enterprises, after all. 

We would lose our professional status, our integrity, if this dam broke, I remember some of the elder statesmen (and stateswomen) of the local bar warning during bar cocktail parties.  How old school I thought.

Now, I remember what they said.  And I think they were right.  It makes me sad.  And it makes me wonder about our country and our society if lawyers don’t own law firms anymore.   Remember Shakespeare’s line about first thing, kill all the lawyers? 

It wasn’t because lawyers are shady or slimy or manipulative or greedy.  It was because lawyers and the legal system hold the society together like a steel skeleton in a skyscraper. 

Where are we going here?  Are we killing all the lawyers here with the concept of nonlawyer firm ownership?

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