Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Arizona and Utah continue to approve entities to provide some legal services as "alternative business structures"

As I am sure you know by now, Utah and Arizona recently became the first two states to make changes to their regulatory structure to allow, among other things, lawyers to partner with non-lawyers, non-lawyer ownership of law firms and alternative business structures.  For my previous comments on this go to the section of the blog on news from Utah and the one for Arizona and scroll down for lots of stories.

In one of those stories I reported that Utah had approved the first non lawyer owned law firm in the state back in March, and that Arizona had approved some alternative business structures.

Today I am reporting that the Arizona Supreme Court has approved three entities to be licensed as alternative business structures, enabling businesses owned by non-lawyers to deliver legal services.

The first two, approved back in March are Trajan Estate, LLC, a legal service provider focused on estate planning and Payne Huebsch, PLC, a firm that provides transactional legal services combined with tax and accounting advice.

The most recent entity, approved on April 22, is Arete Financial LLC. which will provide accounting and tax services, and legal services in the areas of trust, probate and corporate transactional.

Law Sites has more details.

It is interesting to note that the main argument to allow for alternative business structures is always that it will result in better/more access to legal services to those whose needs are not met. Yet, if you look at all the alternative business structures created so far, it really does not sound that any of them are dedicated to do that.  They all seem to be boutique firms to provide services for wealth management (ie, clients with wealth).   

Meanwhile, Utah seems to be taking a different approach.  There, two non-profit pilot programs secured approval this week under Utah’s regulatory sandbox to provide non-lawyer legal assistance to individuals with medical debt.  That sounds more like providing access to justice.

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