In late May and early June 2015, members of the Association were emailed a link to an online survey on SurveyMonkey. The survey contained a set of questions on the topic of Alternative Business Structures (ABS), which is currently being studied by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The main conclusions, based on both the closed-ended and open-ended responses, are as follows:
First, most lawyers have fairly negative attitudes towards ABS. They do not feel that ABS will increase access to, or quality of, legal services. Their concerns centre around the conflicting interests of shareholders and non-lawyers, and the potential ethical conflicts this may present to lawyers. They feel that ABS could result in the profit margins of smaller firms being reduced, which would lead to smaller firms being less likely to survive. This is most likely why most respondents felt that ABS would only benefit very few lawyers - specifically those in the larger firms.
Second, a minority of lawyers feel that ABS is something that should be pursued, at least with some conditions - such as specific limits about who should be allowed to invest in firms, and how much they should be allowed to invest.
Third, of those who would be willing to share ownership with non-lawyers, most would pursue it as an opportunity to split income with a spouse and/or children.
For the full analysis and survey results, please click HERE.