This conference brought together scholars, practitioners, and regulators for discussion of the impact and potential implications of changing approaches to regulation of the legal profession in England, Wales, Australia, and other countries following their lead. Materials are now available and can be found here.

April 24, 2015

Georgetown University Law Center
Gewirz Student Center, 12th Floor

Sponsored by
Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession
Centre for Professional Services, Said Business School, University of Oxford

Lunch panel sponsored by the International Bar Association

Fundamental changes in the regulation of legal services are gaining momentum across the world. The Legal Services Act of 2007 in England and Wales permits outside capital investment in law practices, authorizes lawyers and non-lawyers to join together in the same firms to provide different services, and contains other measures designed to open up the legal market to more competition from providers such as Alternative Business Structures (ABS) and others. 

In the same spirit, law firm Slater & Gordon took advantage of changes in Australian regulation to become the world's first law firm to raise equity by listing on a public stock exchange. The firm has used this capital to acquire smaller personal injury and consumer litigation law firms in Australia and England. Since 2007, other countries have adopted or are considering changes inspired by the events in Britain and Australia. There is clear momentum in favor of rethinking basic assumptions about who can provide legal services and how they can do so. 

What have been the impacts of this remarkable shift, and what are its potential implications for the future of the legal profession? Applicants for ABS licenses, for instance, include not only law firms, but Big Four accounting firms, a subsidiary of British Telecom, and a venture backed by global law firm DLA Piper. These and other developments are opening up the market to fierce competition between law firms with different funding sources, and between lawyers and non-lawyers. 

 What will the long-term competitive impact of this on US law firms? On US law practice more generally? Will they accelerate changes already occurring in the way that business clients purchase professional services? Could these reforms increase access to justice by enabling providers who serve individuals to achieve economies of scale that lower the cost of services? Will boundaries between lawyers and other professionals essentially disappear? 

This day-long symposium will bring together scholars; regulators; and practitioners from law firms, corporate legal departments, and non-traditional legal service providers to discuss the implications for the US legal market of global changes in the regulation of legal services. Anyone with an interest in the future of legal services will find this a stimulating discussion of the shape of things to come.

Program Agenda 

8:00-8:30 am: Continental Breakfast 

8:30-8:45 am: Welcoming Remarks
Mitt Regan
Professor, Co-Director, Georgetown Law, Center for the Study of the Legal Profession 

8:45-10:15 am: Investment in the Legal Services Market
An Overview of Alternative Business Structures in England and Wales
Mari Sako
Professor of Management Studies,  Center for Professional Services, Said Business School, University of Oxford.

What's Wrong with Law Firms? A Corporate Finance Solution to Lawyer and Client Discontent 

Jon Molot
Professor, Georgetown Law Center

Commentator: Daniel Fitz, General Counsel & Company Secretary, BT Group plc and Andrew Grech, Group Managing Director, Slater & Gordon
Moderator: Aric Press, Partner at Bernero & Press LLC and former Editor-in-Chief American Lawyer Media 

10:15-10:45 am: Break 

10:45 am-12:15 pm: Regulatory Reform and Professional Values
Innovation, Ethics and the Legal Services Act
Richard Moorhead
Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, Director of the Center for Ethics and Law, University College, London.

Framing Regulation and Compliance in Legal Services Firms: the Role of the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice
Joan Loughrey
Professor, University of Leeds School of Law

Commentators: Nicole Bigby, Director of Risk, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Matt Todd, Partner, Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg
Moderator: Anthony E. Davis, Partner, Lawyers for the Profession® practice group of Hinshaw &Culbertson LLP

12:30-2:00 pm: International Bar Association Lunch Panel  
How Might Legal Profession Reforms Affect the Competitiveness of Lawyers Operating in an Increasingly Global Legal Market?
Sir Michael Pitt, Chair, Legal Services Board of England and Wales
Jamie Gorelick, Partner Wilmer Hale; former Co-Chair, American Bar Association Commission on Ethics 20/20
Stephen Younger, Partner, Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler; former Chair, New York State Bar Association's Task Force on Nonlawyer Ownership of Law Firms
Ralph Baxter, Partner and former Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
John Flood, Professor, University College, Dublin 

Moderator: James Jones, Legal Management Resources, LLC; Senior Fellow, Georgetown Law, Center for the Study of the Legal Profession

2:15-3:45 pm: Access to Justice
Access to Justice: Can You Invest in It?
Steve Mark
Creative Consequences, former New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner
Tahlia Gordon
Creative Consequences; former Research and Projects Manager, Office of the New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner

Measuring Changes in Access to Justice: Technology, Capability, Funding, and Regulation
Robert Cross
Legal Services Board of England and Wales

Commentator: Rebecca Sandefur, Associate Professor of Sociology and Law, University of Illinois and Sheldon Krantz, Senior Fellow and Director, Access to Justice Initiative, Georgetown Law
Moderator: Tanina Rostain, Professor, Co-Director, Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, Georgetown Law Center 

3:45-4:00 pm: Break 

4:00-5:30 pm: The Shape of the Future
Reform in a Cold Climate: Remodelling the Regulation of Legal Services in Ireland
Colin Scott
Principal, University College, Dublin College of Social Sciences and the Law, Dublin

The Legal Services Act: What Might Replace It and When?
Stephen Mayson 
Independent non-executive director and adviser, and Honorary Professor of Law, University College London

Commentators: Paul Smith, Managing Partner, Eversheds and Mark A. Cohen, CEO, Legalmosaic 
Moderator: Reena SenGupta, RSG Consulting, London  

5:30-7:00 pm: Cocktail Reception

 




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