Most of my earlier writing on this blog was geared towards the solo practitioner or small firm finding ways to deliver legal services online. But I would also get questions from practitioners in larger law firms and from practitioners who were licensed in multiple states and wanted to understand how they could use innovations in technology to work with clients across the country and internationally. Some lawyers were living overseas and were licensed in several states in the U.S. or they lived in one State here but were licensed in multiple jurisdictions and wanted to make sure they were in compliance with the rules of professional responsibility.
So I wrote this paper “Regulatory Barriers to the Growth of Multijurisdictional Virtual Law Firms and Potential First Steps to their Removal” which the North Caroline Journal of Law and Technology at UNC-Chapel Hill Law School was kind enough to publish in their recent issue. As it turned out, I could have written a short book on this topic so I had to exclude almost everything related to international regulatory barriers and just focus on the U.S. Saving my international research for another project I guess.
If you have time to read nothing else, I’d recommend the first half with the background on virtual firms which provides several case studies and models of multijurisdictional virtual practices and what technology and methods of online delivery or collaboration that they are using. I’ve mentioned the following firms:
Fair warning, most of the model rules I discuss in this paper will probably be at least a little modified by the ABA Annual Meeting in August. But hopefully some of my proposals at the end will strike a cord with someone out there. Comments always welcome.
The spread of disruptive technologies to the legal profession is changing the dynamic of how law firms are structured as well as the value propositions associated with the delivery of legal services. The number of law firms with a national presence has grown due to the cost benefits and efficiency of using cloud computing. New models for expansion across jurisdictional
boundaries are increasing. However, the regulatory barriers to create these new firm structures are numerous and costly. This
paper reviews the evolution of technology in multijurisdictional firms and examines the primary regulatory barriers to their further development. A starting point for standardization of regulations is proposed as well as potential first-steps to removing barriers to the growth of multijurisdictional virtual law firms.
The rest is here.