Saturday, January 25, 2014

Proposals to encourage more "innovation" in the practice of law

Carolyn Elefant, a blogger on issues that affect solo practitioners and small firms, has posted an interesting short comment on some obstacles solos and small firms face when it comes to innovation.  She argues, among other things, that "[i]t’s no coincidence that many of the innovations in the legal profession – the Axioms or RocketLawyers and matchmaking platforms are non-law firm entities that aren’t subject to ethics rules. As a result, these companies can push the ethics envelope without fear of serious repercussions. By contrast, if a solo or small firms experiment with a new approach to serving clients, like a virtual office space or a networking arrangement, they can lose their license or reputation if it turns out they made the wrong call (like the Connecticut solos who were prosecuted for ethics violations for participating in Total Attorneys’ lead gen program)."

In response she makes a few proposals including the adoption of "safe harbor within ethics rules to protect lawyers from disciplinary sanctions if they can demonstrate that they were diligent in researching the ethics rules associated with their action and made a reasonable decision based on their analysis."

You can read the full comment here.

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