Legal Profession as a Social Enterprise?

Skyline of Rotterdam with the Erasmusbrug and high buildings

The proliferation of diverse business models in the legal profession presents opportunities for both legal service seekers and lawyers. This recommendation arises from a WODC research conducted by Christiaan Stokkermans, Professor of Corporate Law at Erasmus School of Law, and Annie de Roo, Associate Professor of Comparative Law and Dispute Resolution at Erasmus School of Law, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security.

There is a growing call to allow 'alternative business structures' for lawyers, such as permitting non-lawyers to invest in the capital of a law firm. Currently, this is hardly possible. However, such investments could contribute to affordable, high-quality legal services for individuals and small businesses. With clear regulatory goals and an independent regulator, new forms of accessible legal services can be promoted for a broad range of people, while undesired providers can be excluded. A licensing requirement for law firms, in addition to the qualifications expected of individual lawyers, can ensure that the core values of lawyers, such as independence and integrity, are upheld.

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