The Rise of Institutional Law Practice
For generations, the legal profession has assumed that only individual lawyers practice law. Ethical standards have been largely, if not exclusively, directed at individuals, and practice organizations have been regulated to prevent limiting individual lawyer professional judgment. The world in which lawyers now practice makes the individualized model obsolete. The complexity of modern law narrows the breadth of any individual lawyer’s practice and makes law firms and other practice organizations inevitable. Firms, in turn, must maintain both ethical compliance and a high level of service quality that is inconsistent with lawyers behaving idiosyncratically. This Article explores these developments and suggests changes in the rules governing lawyer conduct needed to respond to the possibilities and problems the developments create.