Queensland Law Firms Partner with Regulators and Researchers to Improve Firms' Ethical Culture

John Briton & Scott McLean, Lawyer Regulation, Consciousness Raising, and Social Science (summary in Geo. J. Legal Ethics, forthcoming 2011); Christine Parker & Lyn Aitken, The Queensland "Workplace Culture Check": Learning from Reflection on Ethics Inside Law Firms (Geo. J. Legal Ethics, forthcoming 2011). Elizabeth Chambliss The American Bar Association Ethics 20-20 Commission should pay some serious attention to Australia. With the Legal Services Act 2007 slated to come into full effect on October 6, 2011, with the licensing of Alternative Business Structures for law practice in England and Wales, all eyes-well, some keen eyes, anyway-have been on the U.K. and its establishment of a regulatory framework for these new organizational forms. But Australia has been regulating "alternative business structures" since 2001, when New South Wales became the first state to allow incorporated law practices (ILPs). Australia's National Legal Profession Model Bill 2006 includes provisions allowing law firms to have non-lawyer directors and shareholders, and Australia, so far, has the only experience regulating publicly listed law firms. Australia,therefore, has a head start in thinking about the regulation of law practice organizations, whether they be traditional partnerships or alternative, corporate, forms. Perhaps the most laudable feature of the emerging Australian model is its emphasis on law firm self-assessment and the collaboration this engenders between regulators, researchers, and firms. This collaboration was on full display at the 2010 International Legal Ethics Conference, in a pair of papers analyzing the data on law firm self-assessment, one from a regulatory and the other from a research perspective. Continue reading "Queensland Law Firms Partner with Regulators and Researchers to Improve Firms' Ethical Culture"

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