A Clementi Symposium at Georgetown Law

News is slowly trickling out on the web, see Riskin and Gratsch, about a symposium at Georgetown Law on the topic of Publicly Traded Law firms in the US. (Bruce MacEwan’s post, one of the key participants, details included…).

Taking place on Apr. 3 & 4, 2008, and titled “The Future of the Global Law Firm,” the discussion will address Sir David Clementi’s Report of the Review of the Regulatory Framework for Legal Services in England and Wales, and the potential for these types of reforms in the US legal market.

We have discussed the Clementi report before here at Slaw. Commentary can also be picked up from a site search of the CBA’s website.


  1. Very interesting. Thanks, Steve.

    Does anyone know if this is being discussed in Canada (beyond those of us right here)?

  2. I think most of the commentary in Canada is termed as ‘Multi-Disciplinary Practices’ or MDPs. As I understand it, Law Societies are still in debate over the amount of Lawyer control required with these types of practices.

    I haven’t read anything to suggest we’re moving towards Clementi style reforms. Anyone else?

  3. Well, MDPs allow for other professionals to join in as partners (I believe), but that is not the same as taking the law firm public. That would certainly change the complexion of the industry, I think.

  4. Part of the ease with which both Lady Thatcher and Mr. Blair have moved in this area is because of the unitary state.

    It would be much more difficult in Canada because the legal profession is provincially regulated.

    The Law Society legislation would have to be amended to contemplate non-lawyer partners or shareholders if the corporate form were permitted.

    Yes there was discussion up here a decade ago, resulting from Steve Brill’s posting on Counsel Connect about what a prospectus from a Wall Street firm might look like.

    I suppose the toughest issue is what the firm would do with the equity investment and how one would price the IPO, given the ROI.

  5. I’m certain that if I were a US entrepenurial (ie plaintiffs’ side) securities litigator, I’d be salivating at the chance of going after a publicly traded law firm, UK based or US based, under US laws. I haven’t read through any of the material justifying the prospect so maybe the problems that I see have been dealth with by those more competent than me. Still, as I see it, the potential for conflict between the duty owed to clients and the duties to shareholders is massive and I not resolvable unless one or the other is deemed by statute the overriding duty.