March 2015 Bar Bulletin
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March 2015 Bar Bulletin

An Approach to Adapting the Antiquated RPCs

By Robert WM Zierman


Computers have a disruptive impact on industries. Law provides no exception. At some point, to remain both relevant and cost effective, lawyers will very likely need to fully embrace the capabilities that computers afford. In doing so, the rules of professional conduct ought to be revised.

However, the gap between "ought" and "will" is likely to be so extreme that changes will need to first occur before the law catches up. Below is a novel plan for complying with the current RPCs while achieving several business goals that the RPCs appear to currently frustrate.

Here are the goals:

  • Use computers to allow a level of specialization that heretofore has been unmatched in consistency by individual attorneys.
  • Extend this specialization to reach beyond jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Allow outside investment as to management, albeit not that of a law firm.
  • Decrease redundant research costs significantly.
  • Increase access to justice.

As a springboard, let's take seriously the old saw that there are three types of attorneys. As a reminder these are: finders, minders and grinders. Each has an important role to play. Instead of firms bundling these tasks together, these different roles are to be completely unbundled from one another. Specifically, each of these roles should be turned into its own firm. Yet, the firms operate in consortium.

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