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Lay ownership of firms under ‘discussion’ (access required)

Senate bill would let non-lawyers own 49% stake in practices

Non-lawyers would be allowed ownership in professional corporation law firms - something State Bar rules expressly forbid - under a bill now under consideration in the N.C. Senate. State Bar officials said they have not had a chance to analyze the bill or to make a decision on whether to take a position. But Tom Lunsford, the Bar's executive director, said, "It's a matter of concern to us, and we'll be taking a close look at it." Rule 5.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct states in part that "a lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if a non-lawyer owns any interest therein."

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