Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Volume 15, Number 1 (2001), p. 1-28.
business law; law firm; law professionals; legal profession; legislation; limited liability partnerships
In the law of business organizations, individuals have generally been unrestrained in choosing which legal form they will use to carry on productive endeavors. Professionals, however, have not been afforded such freedom. They have found themselves prohibited by their self-regulatory bodies from practicing their profession in a corporate form. As a result, members of professions have practiced either as sole practitioners or in partnership with other members of the same profession. Professionals practicing in partnership expose themselves to personal liability for the obligations of the partnership and wrongdoing by their partners. This Article analyzes the rise of limited liability partnerships ("LLPs"), a newly created form of business association that shields innocent partners from personal liability for the negligence of their partners, in the United States and Canada. Professor Puri argues that the development of LLPs has significant implications for the legal profession. First, the private benefits conferred upon lawyers by LLPs are at the expense of consumers of legal services, particularly unsophisticated consumers. Second, the benefits of LLPs will accrue disproportionately to partners in large law firms because the judiciary is more likely to pierce the LLP veil in the context of small law firms organized as LLPs, thereby creating a further divide between the two "hemispheres" of lawyers. Third, LLPs represent another step in the commercialization of the legal profession, suggesting that we ought to reflect on how to distinguish between the practice of law and the carrying on of other businesses, and re-evaluate the benefits associated with being members of a profession.
Puri, Poonam. "Judgment Proofing the Profession." Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 15.1 (2001): 1-28.
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