IBA Annual Conference Miami 2022

30 Oct - 4 Nov 2022

Room 208, Level 2

Session information

Alternative business structures – only for common-law law firms?

Wednesday 2 November (1115 - 1230)

Room 208, Level 2
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Alternative and New Law Business Structures Committee (Lead)
Bar Issues Commission Regulation Committee
Law Firm Management Committee
Professional Ethics Committee


Traditionally, law firms were owned and invested in by lawyers to ensure that the firm remained independent and unbiased. However, this meant firms were restricted to the amount the owners could afford to invest into it. Since the Legal Services Act came into force in 2007 in the UK, law firms are now able to operate as Alternative Business Structures (ABS). Most notably, ABS’s are eligible to receive funding from external sources and be managed by non-solicitors. They’re also able to provide several services under one brand name – including non-legal services. In recent discussions, we are discovering that mainly common law firms are thinking about the possibilities and opportunities given by ABS. But where are the civil law firms? May they lose market shares and clients in their own countries when foreign law firms from common law jurisdictions offer services under the ABS umbrella internationally? Do clients interpret ABS as a sign of unreliability, although there are already plenty of professionals working in traditional law firms that are not legally fully qualified yet, as, for example, paralegals? What about initiatives in the Common Market and International Trade Agreements that may be capable to change the professional lives of lawyers in civil law countries (and not only there…)? We will talk with lawyers, policy makers and legal tech providers from civil and common law jurisdictions, to understand where the legal profession stands today and how it will flow tomorrow in the international legal market on ABS.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Pieter Tubbergen Tremont Legal, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Vice Secretary, International Commerce and Distribution Committee


Hanim Hamzah KPMG, Singapore, Singapore; Member, Alternative and New Law Business Structures Committee Advisory Board
Shigenobu Itoh Rutan & Tucker, Irvine, California, USA; Secretary-Treasurer, Professional Ethics Committee
Professor Paul Paton KC Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, Orange, California, USA; Programme Co-Officer, Alternative and New Law Business Structures Committee
Rosario Zaccà Gianni Origoni, Milan, Italy