While attending a BASF reception event this past Friday evening I introduced myself to two attorney attendees who were already engaged in a discussion. I did not know either of the two attorneys. As it turns out, the discussion was about a topic that I had heard nothing about – a California State Bar Task Force evaluating and apparently recommending changes – significant changes – to the practice of law. Occasionally I post discussions about the practice of law in this blog or in my other blog (D&O, audit committees, risk management, etc., http://auditcommitteeupdate.com), including, for example, somewhat recent posts about rule of professional responsibility changes pertaining to conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and attorney as a witness rules.
One of the attorneys from this past Friday evening emailed some additional information to me about the State Bar Task Force. The materials, and the possible changes that are being evaluated are detailed and significant, including, for example, options for expanding the practice of law by non-attorneys and business entities that are not law firms, allowing non-attorney ownership of law firms, changing confidentiality and conflict rules, changing limitations on the sharing of fees with non-lawyers, and more.
Frankly, it would take me considerable time to evaluate the possible changes, of which it appears that there are or could be 16 options that are proposed. Thus, for your additional information and reading, below I have provided links to some of the Task Force materials.
The following is part of the State Bar’s description of the Task Force’s assignment: The State Bar Board appointed a Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services (ATILS) and assigned it to identify possible regulatory changes to remove barriers to innovation in the delivery of legal services by lawyers and others. ATILS was charged with balancing dual goals: consumer protection and increased access to legal services. ATILS has developed 16 concept options for possible regulatory changes, and the Task Force is now seeking public input to help evaluate these ideas.
The following is a Task Force chart that broadly illustrates areas of possible change. Note that this chart does not list or illustrate the individual options that are being considered – also note that if the chart is somewhat difficult to read in this format you will also find a version of the chart by clicking on the Options for Regulatory Reform link below:
The following is a link to a rather long pdf report by the Task Force – I note that the report description indicates “Tentative Recommendations,” indicating or suggesting that although hearings are ongoing the Task Force appears to have already reached tentative recommendations: Board of Trustees Agenda Item 701 JULY 2019: State Bar Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services Report: Request to Circulate Tentative Recommendations for Public Comment
The following is a link to the Task Force’s website with the heading: Options for Regulatory Reform: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Our-Mission/Protecting-the-Public/Public-Comment/Public-Comment-Archives/2019-Public-Comment/Options-for-Regulatory-Reforms-to-Promote-Access-to-Justice
The following is a link to the Task Force’s primary website: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Who-We-Are/Committees-Commissions/Task-Force-on-Access-Through-Innovation-of-Legal-Services/Task-Force-on-Access-Through-Innovation-of-Legal-Services
These Task Force materials are important for all attorneys, prospective attorneys, law schools, and providers or potential providers of legal services. Currently I have no insight as to which if any changes will be made; however, I am sure that more on these topics will follow.
Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.
Thank you for reading this website. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly.
Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only.
I am also the new Chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco.
Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com; Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management http://auditcommitteeupdate.com
The following are copies of the tables of contents of three of the more formal materials that I have written over the years about accounting/auditing, audit committees, and related legal topics – Accounting and Its Legal Implications was my first formal effort, which resulted in a published book that had more of an accounting and auditing focus; Chapter 5A, Audit Committee Functions and Responsibilities, for the California Continuing Education of the Bar has a more legal focus; and the most recent Tate’s Excellent Audit Committee Guide (February 2017) also has a more legal focus:
The following are other summary materials that you might find useful:
From a prior blog post which you can find at https://wp.me/p75iWX-dk if the below scan is too difficult to read:
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