October 05, 2011
Oral Testimony of Lawrence J. Fox,
Drinker Biddle & Reath
Recognizing that law firms havent moved where society has already gone - to the commercial - Mr. Mundheim queried whether change can be turned back. Professor Haddon wondered how do you respond to the claim that this change is in the clients best interest? Mr. Fox said that clients dont understand the values that we are delivering; the ABA should inform the public of what the legal profession delivers and society needs to look at the cost of having these changes happen to the legal profession. Mr. Wander thought these changes wouldnt impede loyalty if the client wants them. He also asked what do clients consider informed consent - at the end of the day isnt it the clients choice? Asked whether there are solutions to imputation other than waiver or deletion Mr. Fox said there is no middle ground and that imputation as the underpinning of client loyalty is not an outmoded system. Judge Friedman said some of Mr. Foxs resisted changes are already happening in large law firms with marketing departments and global business. Mr. Fox countered that prospective waivers are outrageous even when obtained by law firms. Following up on the comparability of a large law and an accounting firm Ms. Lamm mentioned that a partner departing a firm for a competing firm would have trouble getting their capital out. When asked about the assertion that the individual lawyer should be regulated rather than the entity Mr. Fox said he did not agree with only regulating the individual. In some ways he was more concerned about for-profit companies than accountants controlling the practice of law.