Alternative Law Practice Structures

Whenever the ABA gets involved in anything involving “nonlawyers” (a term that, when used by the ABA using is going to encompass persons with some connection to law not just members of the public, i.e., inter alia paralegals), paralegals ought to perk up and make sure their voice is heard. According to the a post by Robert Hrouda, RP, Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues at National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., on the NFPA LinkedIn Discussion Board:

NFPA Comments on ABA Discussion Draft Regarding Alternative Law Practice Structures

Good morning everyone. In early December, 2011, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 published for comment a Discussion Draft with cover memo relating to Alternative Law Practice Structures. In sum, they are discussing changes to ABA Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4 in order to allow nonlawyer ownership in law firms. The ABA Discussion Draft can be found at:

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/ethics_2020/20111202-ethics2020-discussion_draft-alps.authcheckdam.pdf

On January 27, 2012, NFPA responded to the ABA in support of this proposed rule change. NFPA’s response is available on the NFPA website, front page banner, and also on the website under the VPPI tab, Regulation (See National section of Regulation tab).

This is one of the many advantages of professional organizations such as NFPA. However, it is only an advantage if the association does indeed speak for you on an issue. Take some time and read the proposed rule change and decide whether NFPA was correct in supporting it. If you are a member of NFPA, let the leaders know whether or not you support its support of the proposed change. NFPA is a good organization in part because of its leadership, but any organization is only as good as its membership in the long run.

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