The structures of the law firms and their financing


The European Commission, in 2003 and then in 2005, examined the question relative to the validity of the laws and professional rules that restricted the following aspects: the organisation and the ownership of structures offering judicial services, the possibilities of partnership with others professions, especially with chartered accountants and the opening of branch, franchises or chains. The Commission estimated that all restrictions, which might have a negative economic impact and forbid the existence of multidisciplinary practices, should be completely eliminated. According to the European Commission, only the restrictions allowing the protection of the service providers’ independence or its personal responsibility could be justified.

Nowadays, with the current crisis, what is the European Commission position concerning deregulation?

Since these injunctions relative to the multidisciplinary nature were made, what are the legal evolutions, the modifications adopted by the lawyers and bars in our various countries (possibility to choose a commercial structure, to create joint-stock companies, to call on to shareholders for funds, to list the company on the stock exchange, to develop multidisciplinary practices…) ?

What impact does this have on an eventual control by the bars and what is the impact of these modifications to our ethical rules (professional secrecy, conflict of interest, independence…) ?

The speakers and participants will deal with these questions during the Congress of the European Bars Federation that will take place in Bruges in May, 22nd in the morning session.