Introduction

The competitive advantages of these companies lie in their business models and the appeal of those models is not limited by borders.

Alternative business structure (ABS) Omnia Strategy LLP offers a multidisciplinary expertise in law, strategy, policy, business, and communications. It serves governmental, corporate and individual clients located around the globe.

ABS Proelium Law is a multidisciplinary practice that offers legal and business advice to companies, individuals and governmental agencies that seek to operate in complex, high-risk and hostile environments (such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq). Proelium Law’s partnership includes Richard Stephens, a former Special Forces officer with expertise in the areas of surveillance, reconnaissance, and problem solving in complex environments. Proelium’s clients are based both within and outside of the UK.

ABS Schillings International LLP offers multidisciplinary expertise in reputation management and defense, combining the disciplines of legal services, risk consulting and information security. It serves “prominent individuals and businesses wherever they are in the world.”[1] Schillings has won a number of awards, including in 2015 Legal Week’s Legal Innovation Award for “Marketing and Business Development Innovation” and was highly commended in the category of “Future of Legal Services Innovation.”[2] In 2016 Schillings’ COO, Christopher Mills (who is not a lawyer), won Legal Week’s Outstanding Individual Innovator award for his “instrumental” role in reinventing the firm from a defamation boutique to a reputation defense business.[3]

ABS Radiant Law offers the application of technology and managed processes to shorten the negotiations and sales cycle for companies with large volumes of commercial contracts. Radiant’s non-executive Chair (and a minority shareholder) is Greg Tufnell, who formerly served as managing director at retailers Mothercare and at Burton Menswear, and who currently also serves as the non-executive Director for the investment group The House of Britannia and as Chair of leather accessories company Zachels. Radiant Law serves a number of clients outside the UK, including clients based in the US. In 2015 Radiant won the Managing Partners’ Forum “Mold Breaking Firm”[4] award and came in second in the category “Most Innovative Client Service.”[5] In addition, it was shortlisted for the African Legal Awards 2015, in the category “Innovation.”[6]

ABS Riverview Law offers the application of technology and managed processes to improve the efficiency and the quality of the work of in-house legal departments. Riverview is owned (i) by the managed HR advisory service company Adviserplus, (ii) by the international law firm DLA Piper, and (iii) by a variety of individuals, including the management team of Riverview Law. Riverview’s Chief Executive, Karl Chapman, was the founder of Adviserplus and remains its principal shareholder; he is not a lawyer. Riverview serves a number of clients outside the UK, including clients based in the US. Riverview has won a number of awards, including in 2013 the US-based College of Law Practice Management’s InnovAction award for its innovative law firm model.[7]

ABS Keystone Law offers a range of corporate and commercial legal services to corporate clients. Its lawyers are independent contractors—they are not required to meet billing targets or to work from any particular physical location. The recipient of £3.15 million of private equity,[8] the firm provides IT, marketing and administrative support together with professional liability insurance to its lawyers. The firm retains 30% of client fees, with the remaining 70% paid to the relevant lawyer(s). Keystone has created an Australia-based joint venture, ILP Keypoint Law, which operates under the same model as Keystone. Keystone has won a number of awards, including in 2015 Legal Week’s Legal Innovation Award for “Recruitment Innovation.”[9]

ABS Judicare Law International Limited provides “specialist global legal advice” in connection with investments in property and land overseas, in the areas of conveyancing, property disputes, mortgages, wills and inheritance and immigration. The company’s in-house lawyers assist both UK-based and international buyers in a wide range of countries, including the US, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Turkey, Poland, Barbados, Brazil and United Arab Emirates.

ABS Thomas Miller Law Limited offers legal services in the areas of shipping, transport and specialist insurance. In doing so, it expands the spectrum of services offered by its owner Thomas Miller, which provides specialist insurance, investment and professional services to clients around the world.[10]

ABS Ascent Performance Group Limited, having acquired five debt services businesses between 2012 and 2015,[11] offers services in debt collection, outsourced collections, recovery and legal debt litigation to businesses on both a national and international basis. Ascent is a member of the Irwin Mitchell group, which offers legal services to both individuals and businesses, as well as, through two other subsidiaries, financial and asset management and claims management.

ABS YangTze Law offers corporate and commercial advice to Chinese corporate clients investing in the UK and Europe. The firm caters to the clients of YangTzejiang Legal Network, which has 40 independent law firm members throughout China with more than 3,000 lawyers.[12] YangTze Law is entirely owned by two Chinese lawyers—Winston Gao and Steve Ng—Ng is also the Secretary-General of the YangTzejiang Legal Network. The UK firm Michelmores has gained access to this market of Chinese corporate investors via an agreement with YangTze Law to provide back office legal and regulatory support, and Michelmores’s Managing Partner (an English solicitor) also serves as Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) of YangTze Law.[13]

ABS Foran Glennon (UK) LLP is 80% owned by Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff (FGPPR), the remaining 20% shared between two UK solicitors.[14] FGPPR is a US-based law firm that serves insurance company and other corporate clients in a variety of practice areas, and notably international litigation. Foran Glennon has described itself as a “professional services company” rather than a “traditional partnership,” and it has stated that two advantages of its ABS status are that it will permit the company (i) to develop an in-house forensic accountancy capability, notably by merging with an accounting firm (the accountants can become partners of the UK-based ABS), and (ii) to receive external investment through private equity “at an appropriate time.”[15]

ABS Leyton UK Partners LLP offers employment legal services to the corporate and individual clients of its parent company, management consulting firm Leyton UK Ltd.[16] Leyton’s London offices are one of 15 offices worldwide, including offices in Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and Morocco, and nine offices in France, where Leyton is headquartered.

ABS RM Company Services Limited offers business information and registration services, including: (i) UK and international company registrations (including the US), (ii) access to corporate reports and credit checks on over 200 million companies in more than 220 countries and access to worldwide company documents from over 1000 registries, (iii) worldwide trademark search and registration together with brand protection and advice, (iv) creating trusts and offshore corporate structures, and (v) worldwide assistance with opening bank accounts.[17] Most of the company’s services are offered online, and it claims that its aRMadilo company and credit report app was the world’s first B2B app.[18] The company was awarded an ABS license in September, 2015; Emmanuel Cohen, Chair of the RM Group, stated that the company sought an ABS license in order to “offer clients a complete range of corporate services all under one roof,” and namely to offer the drafting of corporate documents and agreements and general commercial legal advice, together with accounting and bookkeeping services.[19]

Incorporated legal practice (ILP) TST Partners Group offers to individuals and businesses multidisciplinary services in accounting, tax, legal and finance brokering. Its clientele is focused in Australia, but includes a number of Asia-based clients.

For sure these fourteen companies have many differences. They use a large range of delivery models, and they cover a large range of subject matters: maritime, defamation and reputation defense, security, insurance litigation, debt collection, international investment, human resources, high volume contracts, international diplomacy and dispute resolution, real property, intellectual property…

But they also share fundamental commonalities:

The first commonality of these companies is that they are all taking advantage of the modernized regulatory environments of England and Wales or Australia (if not both) to develop and offer products and services that would be far more difficult to develop and offer in a more restrictive regulatory environment. It would not be impossible—companies like the US-based Axiom demonstrate that—but it would be significantly more difficult and that is the reason why these companies have few close counterparts or competitors based in the US (or in any other country).

How are they taking advantage of the liberal regulatory environments? By doing one or more of these:

  • By combining legal services with non-legal goods and services, in order to craft unique combinations of goods and services that, together, address not just an isolated legal issue but the client’s larger, multidisciplinary matter in its entirety,
  • By obtaining third party capital, in these cases in the form of private equity, in order to invest the money to develop new processes and technology for the provision of legal services,
  • By bringing in as partner or shareholder persons who have expertise in areas other than law, but which are complementary to law and critical in crafting an effective legal good or service, in order to fully motivate them with a stake in the company’s success.

The second commonality of these companies is that they are all actively seeking—and finding—clients outside of their home countries—in many cases the United States and other countries where the regulatory environments are more restrictive. And why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t the unique products and services that they have developed have appeal outside their home countries? The competitive advantages that these companies offer have nothing to do with knowledge of local laws or, in most of their cases, with the personality or rainmaking capabilities of any particular lawyer or lawyers. Instead, their competitive advantages lie in their unique combinations of legal and non-legal expertise and in their unique processes and technology, all of which offer value independently of the country where a client is located.

In sum, the competitive advantages of these companies lie in their business models and the appeal of those models is not limited by borders. In this manner, by taking advantage of their respective home country’s more liberal regulatory environment to develop unique goods and services and offer them outside their home countries, these companies have enormous advantages as well as a head start over anyone who might seek to compete with them but who are subject to more restrictive regulations in their own home countries. And this advantage is true not only in the home countries of their would-be competitors, but in all countries. In other words, by modernizing their regulatory environments, England and Wales and Australia have in many respects opened up the global market for their home-grown legal service providers. At the same time, the United States (and other countries), in choosing to maintain a restrictive regulatory environment, are making it very difficult for their own legal services providers to access that same global market (not to mention their difficulties in accessing their own national market).

The third commonality of these companies is that they attract investment, create jobs and bring tax revenue to their home countries of England and Wales and of Australia. In many respects the manner by which they do so is obvious: the investments are made in English or Welsh and/or in Australian legal entities, the bulk (if not all) of the work is done by persons domiciled in England or Wales or in Australia, and/or income tax on any company profit is paid in England and Wales or in Australia.

But in other respects the benefits these companies bring to their home countries may be less obvious. For example, it would be natural to assume that most if not all of the jobs created would be jobs for lawyers. However, the examples of these companies demonstrate that jobs are equally created for specialists in strategy, management, IT, marketing, finance, accounting, human resources. Another example: by helping the Chinese investor to feel more comfortable with English legal matters, the ABS YangTze Law also helps the Chinese investor to feel more comfortable with investing in England more generally, encouraging the investor to invest in England instead of in another European or Western country.

In whatever respect it may be, the bottom line is that the liberal regulatory environments of England and Wales and of Australia work to attract investment, create jobs and generate tax revenue in ways that are difficult if not impossible in countries with more restrictive regulatory environments.

The fourth commonality of these companies is that their clientele is composed principally of large organizations—governmental agencies, corporations or other law firms (and, in some cases, wealthy or prominent individuals).

What is the significance of this commonality? Is it a coincidence that of these fourteen ABSs and ILPs serving clients overseas, all fourteen serve principally large organizations (and in some cases wealthy or prominent individuals) rather than ordinary individuals? Why should we care that this is the case?

We should care because the US suffers from a huge unmet need for legal services—a need so great that some consider it to be a human rights crisis.[20]

While large organizations in the US certainly do face challenges in obtaining legal services,[21] those challenges pale in comparison to those of lower and middle income individuals (as well as small businesses and start-ups). It is the challenges they face that constitute the human rights crisis: This is reflected in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index[22] which, on the question of affordable and accessible civil justice, ranks the US 94th out of a total of 113 countries, and which, out of the regional group of North America and Western Europe, ranks the US last (behind countries like Romania and Bulgaria).[23]

It would be tempting to see this commonality as proof that alternative structures do not improve access to justice—that instead they operate simply to produce more options for the part of the market that is already adequately served (large organizations), while doing little for the part of the market that is desperately underserved (low and middle income individuals, small businesses and start-ups).

But the significance of this commonality is more complex than that. The complexity is this: The very reason that these fourteen companies are able to offer their goods and services to clients outside their home countries is because their clients principally are large organizations, rather than low and middle income individuals or small businesses. That is because rules in those other countries restricting who may provide legal services are applied differently depending upon the identity of the client. In the US in particular, we have carved out exceptions when the decision maker for the client is a licensed lawyer, either in a law firm or a member of an in-house legal department. This fact explains why companies like Axiom Law (legal placement and outsourcing), Lex Machina (legal data analytics), KCura (web-based e-discovery) and Anaqua (intellectual property asset management)—all US-based—have been able prosper: because the decision makers for their clients are, in most if not in all cases, lawyers.[24]

A number of ILPs in Australia and ABSs in England and Wales serve individuals and small businesses. Some operate as for-profit companies; others operate as not-for-profit or community interest companies. Examples of for-profit businesses include Australia’s Shine Lawyers and Maurice Blackburn (both personal injury and consumer services), and the UK’s Stephensons Solicitors (full service), Roberts Jackson (industrial diseases), Kings Court Trust (probate services), and BPIF Legal (legal needs of small businesses in printing and graphics industry). Examples of not-for-profit or community interest companies include Australia’s Salvos Legal Humanitarian (range of services including family law, housing, social security, and migration, all free of charge), and the UK’s Aspire Law (spinal cord injuries, 50% of its profits are used to provide housing, funding and other support for people with spinal cord injury), as well as Castle Park Solicitors (family law and immigration, offered at a reduced charge to low income clients). None of these companies may seek to expand their businesses to countries such as the US, nor may their models be replicated in the US, because their low and middle income and small business clients do not have a lawyer intervening on their behalf.

In sum, the restrictive regulatory environment of the United States operates to completely shut out of its market companies like Shine Lawyers, Salvos Legal Humanitarian and Aspire Law (which serve individuals and small businesses), while merely restricting the activities of companies like Radiant and Riverview (which serve large organizations), without shutting them out completely.

This is a complex discussion—it requires a significant intellectual investment—one that many people are not willing to make. What is the bottom line?

The bottom line is that as long as the US maintains its restrictive regulatory environment for legal services, the consequences will be two-fold:

Firstly, companies like the fourteen listed above will continue to be created and to be active across the globe, including, for many of the companies, in the United States and for clients based in the United States. In doing so, they will continue to augment the variety and the accessibility of legal services for large companies, wealthy individuals, and governmental organizations across the globe.

US-based law firms will need to compete with them. Some will succeed—especially large corporate firms with significant resources—but many others will find it difficult, both in the US as well as in other countries, because of the inflexibility of US firms’ singular business and service delivery model (partnership using the professional consultancy model to deliver legal services only), and because of their lack of access to resources such as investment capital and management and other kinds of expertise.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, low and middle income individuals and small businesses in the US will continue to suffer from lack of access to legal services. The restrictive regulatory framework will operate to severely limit not only the development of home-grown alternative business and service delivery models, but also the entry into the US of foreign companies offering alternate models to low and middle income individuals.

If the US does not succeed in modernizing its regulatory environment for legal services, will it simply be left behind?

Why This Book

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2016 ranks the US 18th out of 113 countries on an overall basis. This is respectable, even if it is behind our common law sisters, the UK (10th), Australia (11th) and Canada (12th). These overall rankings are based upon nine factors, such as constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, and openness of government. However, as mentioned above, when one element is singled out—affordable and accessible civil justice—the rank of the US falls to 94th (yes, 94th) of 113.[25] This ranking is behind countries such as Albania, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Russia and Zimbabwe. To be clear—this means that the persons living in those countries have better access to civil justice than Americans do. In most if not all aspects of their lives, they are better able to learn their rights and obligations, and better able to assure their rights and obligations are respected. Let’s repeat that list: Albania, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Russia and Zimbabwe.

By way of comparison, for this same element Australia ranks 42nd, the UK ranks 46th , and Canada ranks 48th.[26] While these rankings are not stellar, they are a vast improvement over that of the US. Given the similarities among the legal systems of the four countries, we would be missing a trick if we did not take a close look at how legal services in those countries are regulated. That is, if we didn’t consider what elements of their governance make their systems, even if far from perfect, nevertheless so much better than ours when it comes to affordable and accessible civil justice.

A comprehensive examination of how legal services are regulated in each of these countries would require far more space than the pages of just one book, and it would likely cause eyes to glaze over. In an attempt to avoid that fate, this book selects just one topic, and examines how each of the four countries has dealt with just that topic. This approach allows for the countries to be compared and contrasted in a meaningful as well as focused manner.

The topic selected is that of alternative structures. This topic was not selected randomly. To the contrary, it was selected because it lends itself to this task in a way that few other topics do: It has recently been the subject of either actual or proposed regulatory reform in all four countries. As a (highly) controversial topic, it has received considerable media attention and a lot of information is publicly available. Finally, of all the recently adopted or proposed regulatory reforms with respect to legal services common to these four countries, many believe that alternative structures offer one of the most significant vehicles for addressing the shortfall (or, in the US, the dearth) of affordable and accessible civil justice.[27] (Of course, as just stated, the topic is a controversial one and many lawyers are opposed to alternative structures. Their arguments are cited on various occasions throughout this book).

This examination will teach us what each country has done right, and what each has done wrong. We’ll be able to discern patterns and commonalities, and learn which reform activities are productive and which are not. Most especially, by means of this focused examination, we’ll gain insight into the regulatory environments of each country, and we’ll understand what the consequences of those environments are.

This is a journey that we as a country must make. As mentioned above, the US today is facing an unmet need for legal services so acute and widespread, it has been described as a human rights crisis. It would be absurd to suggest that there is just one, or even just a small number of “silver bullet” solutions to the crisis. To the contrary, actions are required at all levels, such as simplifying and streamlining court procedures, and the wider development of automation. But we cannot fool ourselves into believing that large, structural changes are not also required. We cannot fool ourselves into believing that the US can solve its access to justice crisis in the absence of the modernization of its entire regulatory environment for legal services.

That is the essential purpose of this book: to shine a spotlight on the current regulatory environment for legal services in the US. To understand what that environment is, and, as an important part that understanding, how it compares to the regulatory environments of other countries, our closest common law sisters.

While attaining this understanding has always been important, today it is especially so, in the context of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[28] As a signatory of this document, the United States has committed to implement certain goals and targets by 2030, including these:

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels…

16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.[29]

No one would argue that the availability of legal services is not an important component of ensuring equal access to justice for all.[30] No one would argue that the manner by which legal services are regulated does not have a direct bearing on the availability of legal services.[31]

With respect to the regulation of legal services in the United States, do we have effective, accountable and transparent institutions—the ones that are required in order to ensure equal access to justice for all? This book will demonstrate that we do not, not by a long shot. And that if we do not radically change—if we do not modernize—our regulatory environment in its entirety, it is highly doubtful that we ever will.

The Approach of This Book

This book begins, in part I, by setting the stage: what is the purpose of regulation generally, and what is the purpose of the regulation of legal services? Why are legal services regulated, who are the regulators, and with what instruments and methods do they regulate? What criteria will be used for comparing the four countries? The book continues, in parts II and III, with close examinations of England and Wales, on the one hand, and of Australia, on the other. Each examination first explores the institutions and processes (the regulatory environment) that led to the adoption of a new regulatory framework, describes the most salient aspects of the regulatory framework in place today, then gauges the current political environment surrounding the new regulatory framework, and, finally, discusses the additional reforms that are under consideration for the future.

Part IV takes a close look at Canada. First Nova Scotia, Manitoba and the other Prairie provinces, and British Columbia: a description of their relevant institutions, of how each province has approached its work, the progress each has made, and what remains to be done. This part then contrasts these provinces with the province of Ontario, which, after a false start, is following in their path: What explains the significant differences between Nova Scotia, Manitoba and British Columbia, on the one hand, and Ontario on the other? To what extent have the new (and still evolving) regulatory frameworks of England and Wales and Australia influenced the work being done in Canada?

Next, in part V, this book comes back to the US. This part begins by exploring the historical context of the country’s ban on the corporate practice of law and on the unauthorized practice of law more generally before exposing in detail each of the significant challenges that have been made (or might have been made) to the ban since the early 1980s. Then, this part examines three outliers: why and how the rules in Washington DC, Colorado, and Illinois are different. This part finishes with an explanation of the effect of Model Rule 5.4 and the current regulatory framework on the development of new models for the delivery of legal services in the US.

Using the criteria established in Part I, Part VI makes a final assessment of the four countries and asks how the US can modernize its regulatory environment for legal services. Part VI takes special care to distinguish the modernization of the country’s regulatory environment (what is advocated in this book) from a very different concept: the privatization of regulation.

Finally, as part of my research for this book I interviewed a number of persons who either play or have played a significant role in the regulation of legal services in England and Wales, Australia, Canada or the United States. References to those interviews appear through this book. Excerpts from selected interviews are provided in the Appendix, together with information about how the interviews were conducted. Full versions of all the interviews are available online at www.notjustforlawyers.com. The interviews offer unique, first-hand insight into the outlook and approach of a modern (or a modernizing) regulator.

This chapter is an excerpt from Modernizing Legal Services in Common Law Countries: Will the US Be Left Behind? To learn more about the book, please click here.

Notes

[1] “Law at the Speed of Reputation,” Schillings, accessed March 20, 2017, https://www.schillings.co.uk/our-approach.

[2] “The Legal Innovation Awards 2015: Winners,” The Legal Innovation Awards, accessed September 7, 2015, http://www.thelegalinnovationawards.com/ehome/index.php?eventid=188946&.

[3] “Legal Week Innovation Awards:  Celebrating Creative Excellence in the Legal Profession,” May 27, 2016, http://www.thelegalinnovationawards.com/ehome/index.php?eventid=188946&.

[4] “Mould Breaking Firm,” Managing Partners’ Forum Global, accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.mpfglobal.com/awards/2015/Mould_Breaking_Firm.aspx.

[5] “Most Innovative Client Service,” Managing Partners’ Forum Global, accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.mpfglobal.com/awards/2015/Most_innovative_client_service.aspx.

[6] “The African Legal Awards 2015: The Shortlist,” African Legal Awards, accessed September 11, 2015, http://www.africanlegalawards.com/static/2015-shortlist.

[7] Karen Rosen, “Announcing the InnovAction Award 2013 Winners,” College of Law Practice Management, August 15, 2013, http://collegeoflpm.org/announcing-the-innovaction-award-2013-winners/.

[8] Neil Rose, Keystone Law Takes Private Equity Investment, Legal Futures, October 23, 2014, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/keystone-law-takes-private-equity-investment.

[9] “The Legal Innovation Awards 2015: Winners,” The Legal Innovation Awards, accessed September 7, 2015, http://www.thelegalinnovationawards.com/static/winners-2015.

[10] Nick Hilborne, “International Insurance Group to Launch ABS for Corporate Clients,” Legal Futures, January 29, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/international-insurance-group-launch-abs-corporate-clients.

[11] “Irwin Mitchell Completes Seventh Acquisition as Expansion Continues,” Legal Futures, July 2, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/associate-news/irwin-mitchell-completes-seventh-acquisition-as-expansion-continues.

[12] Lindsay Fortado, “Chinese-Owned Law Firm Seeks Deals in West with London Launch,” Financial Times, May 31, 2015, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e05e603e-077f-11e5-a58f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3l4xbNHRH.

[13] Neil Rose, “Unique ABS Aims to Capitalise on Push by Chinese Companies to Invest Overseas,” Legal Futures, June 1, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/unique-abs-aims-to-capitalise-on-push-by-chinese-companies-to-invest-overseas.

[14] Tom Moore, “Targeting London: Locke Lord Duo Depart to Launch Boutique Foran Glennon in the City,” Legal Business, April 2, 2015, http://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/index.php/lb-blog-view/3926-targeting-london-locke-lord-duo-depart-to-launch-foran-glennon-in-the-city.

[15] Nick Hilborne, “Exclusive: American ABS Considering Merger with Accountants, Legal Futures, June 12, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/exclusive-american-abs-considering-merger-with-accountants.

[16] Dan Bindman, “ABS News: R&D Experts Plot Expansion, PI Firm Set to Launch Second ABS and Plans Third,” Legal Futures, June 30, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/abs-news-rd-experts-plot-expansion-pi-firm-set-to-launch-second-abs-and-plan-third.

[17] “About the RM Group,” RM Online, accessed March 17, 2017, http://www.rmonline.com/about-us.html.

[18] “aRMadillo Mobile Application – World’s First Company & Credit Report App!,” RM Online, accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.rmonline.com/armadillo-app.html.

[19] Dan Bindman, “Business Services Pioneer Launches ABS to Extend Offering to Clients,” Legal Futures, September 18, 2015, http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/business-services-pioneer-launches-abs-to-extend-offering-to-clients.

[20] Carrie Johnson, “Rights Advocates See ‘Access to Justice’ Gap in U.S.,” NPR, March 10, 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/10/288225649/rights-advocates-see-access-to-justice-gap-in-u-s; see also Laura Snyder, Democratizing Legal Services: Obstacles and Opportunities (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2016), 185-194.

[21] Gillian Hadfield offers fascinating insight on the challenges that companies like Google, Mozilla and Cisco Systems face in obtaining legal services: Gillian Hadfield, “Legal Infrastructure and the New Economy,” I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society 8 (2012): 1-59, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1567712.

[22] The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, 2016, 5, 144, http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/media/roli_withcover.pdf.

[23] The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, http://worldjusticeproject.org/historical-data. This ranking is derived from the data (xls) that is available for download from the World Justice Project website.

[24] Laura Snyder, “Does the UK Know Something We Don’t About Alternative Business Structures?” ABA Journal, January 1, 2015, http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/does_the_uk_know_something_we_dont_about_alternative_business_structures;” Snyder, Democratizing Legal Services, 40-41.

[25] The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, http://worldjusticeproject.org/historical-data.

[26] Laura Snyder,” WJP Rule of Law Index: Rankings for Four Sub-Factors,” Not Just for Lawyers, April 17, 2017, http://notjustforlawyers.com/wjp-rule-of-law-index-rankings/.

[27] A number of persons have written on this topic, perhaps most notably Gillian Hadfield. See, for example: Gillian K. Hadfield, “The Cost of Law: Promoting Access to Justice through the (Un)Corporate Practice of Law,” International Review of Law and Economics 38 (2014): 43-63, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2333990; Gillian K. Hadfield and Jamie Heine, “Life in the Law-Thick World: The Legal Resource Landscape for Ordinary Americans,”. USC CLASS Research Papers Series No. CLASS15-2; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 15-2, January 9, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2547664; Gillian Hadfield, “Legal Barriers to Innovation: The Growing Economic Cost of Professional Control Over Corporate Legal Markets,” Stanford Law Review 60 (2008): 101-146, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1104902. See also, for example, Renee Newman Knake, “Democratizing the Delivery of Legal Services,” Ohio State Law Journal 73 (2012): 1-46, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1800258; Edward S. Adams and John H. Matheson, “Law Firms on the Big Board?: A Proposal for Nonlawyer Investment in Law Firms,” California Law Review 86 (1998): 1-40, http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1100&context=faculty_articles; Thomas M. Gordon, “Comments on: Alternative Business Structures,” May 31, 2011, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/ethics_2020/ethics_20_20_comments/responsivelaw_issuespaperconcerningalternativebusinessstructures.authcheckdam.pdf; Thomas M. Gordon, “Comments on: Alternative Law Practice Structures,” January 30, 2012, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/ethics_2020/ethics_20_20_comments/responsivelaw_alpsdiscussiondraft.authcheckdam.pdf; Thomas Gordon, “Comments On: Issues Paper Regarding Alternative Business Structures,” May 2, 2016, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/office_president/responsive_law_abs.pdf; Laura Snyder, Democratizing Legal Services.

[28] “UN Adopts New Global Goals, Charting Sustainable Development for People and Planet by 2030,” United Nations News Centre, September 25, 2015, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51968#.Vgo773qqqko.

[29]  United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” October 21, 2015, 25-26, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E (hereinafter, “Agenda for Sustainable Development”).

[30] Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and Northeastern University School of Law Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, “Equal Access to Justice: Ensuring Meaningful Access to Counsel in Civil Cases, Including Immigration Proceedings — Response to the Seventh and Ninth Periodic Reports of the United States to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” July, 2014, http://web.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/human-rights-institute/files/equal_access_to_justice_-_cerd_shadow_report.pdf; John Levi, “Civil Legal Aid: Ensuring Equal Access to Justice,” Legal Services Corporation Blog, January 26, 2015, http://www.lsc.gov/media-center/blog/2015/01/26/civil-legal-aid-ensuring-equal-access-justice

[31] See, for example, Noel Semple, “Access to Justice: Is Legal Services Regulation Blocking the Path?” International Journal of the Legal Profession, 20 (2013): 267-283, http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=lawpub.

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