Charles Doskow

La Verne Law Professor Speaks at Mississippi College Law Symposium

Anxiety over what could happen can be strong enough to obscure proven results. Charles Doskow, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at the University of La Verne College of Law, believes such is the case with proposals that would allow ownership of law firms by non-lawyers, a subject he discussed at the Ethics 20/20 Symposium recently hosted by Mississippi College School of Law.

Held March 1 in Jackson, Miss., the symposium brought together legal professionals, educators and students to look at changes to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Responsibility proposed by the ABA’s 20/20 Commission. Created in 2009, the Commission was charged with conducting a thorough review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the United States system of lawyer regulation in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments.

The symposium, sponsored by Mississippi College Law Review, explored the implications of the Commission’s proposals, examining their impact on both the practitioner and the profession. Topics included potential reforms affecting attorney/client confidentiality, the lawyer’s use of technology, and alternate litigation financing.

Doskow was part of a panel featuring teachers of professional responsibility. Also taking part on the panel were professors at the law schools of the University of Oklahoma, George Mason University, and the University of Louisville.

During his session, Doskow discussed proposals to allow the ownership of law firms by non-lawyers, proposals prohibited by ABA rules but recently authorized in Australia and Great Britain.

“The issue of whether non-lawyers can own any interest in a law practice is sure to emerge again in the future, despite the American Bar Association’s refusal to consider any change in current regulations that ban such an arrangement,” said Doskow. “The experience of the District of Columbia, as well as those of Australia and Great Britain, demonstrates that the feared consequences of such ownership are greatly exaggerated, if not fanciful.”

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