Professional Responsibility and Liability Issues Related to Limited Liability Law Partnerships
This article surveys the professional responsibility and liability issues related to attorneys practicing in limited liability law firms. Part I of this article provides background information regarding the development of the limited liability partnership (LLP) and its popularity among legal professionals. Part II tackles the 1996 ethics opinion on LLPs rendered by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. This article criticizes the ABA opinion by examining the conclusions and reasoning articulated in the opinion, identifying disciplinary rules that the opinion did not address, and considering the possible effects of the opinion. Part III focuses on some professional liability issues raised by attorneys practicing in LLPs. Part IV concludes by calling for reexamination of the ABA opinion on LLPs as well as the manner in which ethics opinions are rendered. The conclusion challenges the newly created ABA Special Committee on Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, called “Ethics 2000,” to revisit professionalism and quality issues as they relate to attorneys practicing in limited liability law firms.