The Illinois State Bar Association, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Division, has filed a resolution for action by the ABA’s House of Delegates at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in August.
The resolution reaffirms the ABA policy – adopted in 2000 – that law firms shall not be owned by non-lawyers and legal fees shall not be shared with non-lawyers. Proposals that would change this policy have been circulated in connection with the work of the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20.
President John E. Thies briefed the ISBA Assembly on the proposed changes, and the need for the ISBA’s action. “Ethics 20/20 has been tasked with looking at the impact of technology and globalization on the legal profession – these are not bad subjects to consider. However, this inquiry is being used directly or indirectly as a means of advancing proposals which seek to do some of the very same things which were defeated during the battle over Multi-Disciplinary Practice,” Thies said.
A number of states have already indicated their support for the ISBA/Senior Lawyers Division resolution, including Arizona, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Thies added: “this is about defending the core values of our profession against the encroachment of non-lawyers – to the detriment of clients. It’s gratifying that so many other states are lining up behind us, and I expect this to continue as we approach the ABA meeting in August.”