How ABA’s Opinion is Changing the Landscape of Alternative Business Structure


By Hilary Gerzhoy and Deepika Ravi (September 22, 2021, 6:14 p.m. EDT) – Until recently, the American Bar Association and virtually all states except the District of Columbia have relinquished ownership of law firms. ‘lawyers by non-lawyers, called alternative cases. structures, or ABS. One of the practical effects of this resistance has been a series of obstacles for a law firm wishing to expand its practice.

On September 8, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released Formal Opinion 499, loosening the reins and following a recent trend in Arizona and Utah.

The formal opinion, entitled “Passive investment in alternative business structures”,[1] believes that a lawyer can passively invest in a …

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