Business structures and sustainable regional legal practice: the use of incorporated legal practices by regional, rural and remote legal practitioners

Caroline Lydia Hart

Abstract

Since 2007 the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) has offered legal practitioners a wider choice of business structure other than sole practitioner or partnership, to include incorporated legal practice ('ILP') or multidisciplinary partnership. In particular the use of ILPs offers legal practitioners a range of benefits in terms of operating a law firm consistent with business management practices. The status of ILP however comes at a cost of putting in place 'appropriate management systems'. This paper refers to the legislation and the literature on the range of business structures, before giving an insight into the actual choice of business structures used by Queensland regional, rural and remote legal practitioners. What is the awareness of the new business structures? And are there factors inhibiting RRR legal practitioners from their use? This paper draws on over 30 interviews with sole practitioners, partners and legal practitioner directors about their choice of business structure.

Keywords

legal profession; legal education; rural legal practice; business management

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