The Indiana State Bar Association House of Delegates on Friday overwhelmingly rejected a recommendation to allow non-lawyer equity investments in law firms, saying that the issue needed further study.
After nearly 30 minutes of discussion on the recommendation for allowing non-lawyer equity investments, which was presented to the House by Jim Riley with the Future of the Provision of Legal Services Committee, the overwhelming majority of delegates voted against the measure, with only a handful voting in favor. Much of the concern about the recommendation centered around the risk of a law firm losing its independence and dedication to clients if non-lawyers were allowed to have a say in the firm.
A recommendation to assign pro se coordinators to courthouses across the state also failed to pass the House and instead was tabled for discussion at next year’s meeting.
The delegates did pass two of the committee’s recommendations – launching a public education campaign about the benefits of hiring counsel to deal with legal issues, and creating an ISBA law practice management staff position to help members understand and take advantage of new technologies and other tools in the legal field.