The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

Modern Complexity Demands New Ways of Working: The Future of the Lawyer-Nonlawyer Partnership

Public Interest Law

In February 2020, the Pennsylvania Law School held a conference about the future of the legal profession.[1] With attendees representing legal aid, in-house counsel, and corporate law firms, the audience listened carefully to keynote speaker, Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business and author of The Three Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation. Professor Govindarajan’s core message was innovative organizations (and, by extension, industries) excel at three activities: managing the present, selectively forgetting the past, and creating the future.[2] As Professor Govindarajan argues, “seamlessly moving across the boxes is the hallmark of [effective leadership].”[3] With The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court revisiting lawyer regulation via the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services,[4] we have an important choice in embarking on the future of the legal profession in Florida.

The Florida Bar rule at issue here is Rule 4-5.4, Professional Independence of a Lawyer.[5] For simplicity, this article highlights Rule 4-5.4 (c), “Partnership with Nonlawyer. A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.”[6] Jurisdictions are, in varying stages, moving forward on a modern approach to Rule 4-5.4, with state supreme courts recognizing modernized rules are in the public interest.[7] As background, Rule 4-5.4 has a complicated history involving debates on multidisciplinary practice of law (MDP) and ancillary businesses.[8] Legal ethics scholar Mary C. Daley summarized the controversy:

The MDP debate takes different shapes, depending on the tool used to examine it. Viewed under a microscope, the debate is simply about whether the Model Rules [of Professional Conduct] should be amended to permit a lawyer to share legal fees or enter into a partnership with a nonlawyer for the delivery of legal services. Generally speaking, the proponents of the status quo argue that MDPs constitute a threat to the independence of a lawyer’s professional judgement, endanger the confidentiality of client information, weaken the loyalty a lawyer owes to clients, and emasculate the lawyer’s duty to avoid client conflicts of interest. The proponents of change argue that amending the Model Rules is essential to serve clients better and to compete effectively in the legal services marketplace. They maintain that the Model Rules can be amended to protect values deemed at risk by their opponents. Viewed through a telescope, the debate is about the professional identity of lawyers, new mechanisms for the delivery of legal services, and a constantly evolving marketplace for those services.[9]

The formal debate ended in July 2000: The American Bar Association House of Delegates rejected their MDP Commission’s report recommending changes to the Model Rules.[10] The Florida Bar also organized an MDP committee and rejected any Model Rules changes.[11] Initial debates concerning nonlawyer-lawyer partnership focused almost exclusively on private-sector law firms and corporate legal departments.[12] However, Daley noted the debate focus ignored the ubiquity of multidisciplinary teams in public interest firms, legal aid societies, prosecutor’s offices, and in-house lawyers (both government and corporate).[13]

The renewed look at lawyer regulation has great implications beyond general law practice management — it touches at the heart of a changing justice ecosystem.

The events of 2020 and its after effects will reveal it is not only those in extreme poverty that suffer from a legal system designed more than 200 years ago.[14] More than any other time, we likely recognize the interconnection of the justice system to other systems surrounding us and our clients — health care, economic, environmental, political, and social.[15] Moreover, the interconnection of systems[16] reveals the inherent complexity in the concept of justice[17] and its increasing complexity due to the changing nature of clients’ lives and/or their industries in a complex environment.[18] Author Yuval Noah Harari highlights, “[j]ustice demands not just a set of abstract values, but also an understanding of concrete cause-and-effect relations[;]…[a]n inherent feature of our modern global world is that its causal relations are highly ramified and complex.”[19] From the corporate client protecting consumers against a cybersecurity attack from an unknown actor to the criminal defendant utilizing a problem-solving court, the cause-and-effect aspect of justice is now complex. Justice, may in fact, exist on a spectrum — ripe for redress upstream[20] and downstream.[21] Justice may be a hybrid responsibility, deserving a hybrid solution.[22] Justice complexity with its intersectionality of issues underscores the value of new structures to (strategically) address harms along the spectrum.[23] Moreover, because legal infrastructure is the grid society is built on, rethinking infrastructure is the single important act we can do to address societal issues.[24] This article argues Florida is ready for the future of the profession involving a modern partnership delivering redefined value[25] to legal customers, practitioners, and society.

Designing for Extremes[26]

Like other early-adopter states, Florida is ready to adopt new structures, policies, and practices. Models, frameworks, and mindsets have been tested and researched over many years from two scopes of law practice — both in Florida and nationwide. Specifically, work practices in public interest law and the in-house counsel environment have inspired a web of best practice research ready to inform the creation of a thriving justice ecosystem for all stakeholders. These two extreme scopes of practice share similarities because they serve clients steeped in complexity — impacted by interdependent systems.[27] Complexity demands modern approaches. Lessons from these two extremes regarding partnership (collaboration) [28] and perspective (mindset shift)[29] on the practice of law reveal a ready market for a modernized Rule 4-5.4.

The Medical-Legal Partnership

In 1967, a community health clinic in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, a poor small town made up of mostly former cotton sharecroppers, is where a physician first recognized social factors impact health outcomes.[30] This recognition evolved into the formal development of a medical-legal partnership (MLP) in 1993 at Boston Medical Center — a health-care delivery model incorporating legal assistance as a key component of health care.[31] Practically, a community health-care center partners with a local legal aid organization to deliver this integrated health-care approach. The premise informing an integrated and coordinated health-care approach is the recognition that poverty increases complexity in health outcomes.[32] Recognition that up to 80% of a person’s health is determined by nonmedical issues (social factors) like housing, education, employment, income stability, and familial stability.[33]

While health conditions do not generally discriminate based on economic status, remedies certainly do. For example, wealthy children can and do suffer from asthma, but unlike a poor child with asthma, a wealthy child’s family has the means to eliminate environmental factors that may be aggravating it. A poor child’s family, without a lawyer, may have no ability to force the landlord to remove the mold, insects, or rodents that may be aggravating the child’s condition and no ability to simply move to better housing.[34]

Further, according to Dr. Rishi Manchanda, factors impacting health go beyond our genetic code: “[L]iving and working conditions, the structures of our environments, the ways in which our social fabric is woven together, and the impact those have on our behaviors, all together…have more than five times the impact on our health than do all the pills and procedures administered by doctors and hospitals combined.”[35] Moreover, health, whether poor or not, is complex and collides with other systems, increasing the complexity.[36] These recognitions have helped medical professionals build on an existing framework — to stretch their understanding and practice of social determinants of health to include legal screening and intervention.[37] Thus, MLP models require medical professionals to accept legal professionals as key contributors to the patient-centric care team — as they have accepted patient navigators, case managers, and social workers.[38]

MLPs reveal interprofessional collaboration is effective in addressing complex health issues necessitating legal intervention. One legal practitioner shares the story of a child admitted to a mental-health facility for threatening severe harm to her family and herself.[39] For safety concerns, the mother home-schooled the child requiring the mother to forgo paid work.[40] By having a direct and trusted link with medical professionals, the attorney intervened and supported the family on their denied Social Security disability appeal (due to trusted medical relationships, the attorney secured needed documentation) and also secured special education services.[41] MLP partnership success means connecting the patient/client to legal assistance they likely would not have sought.[42] Research indicates most consumers do not know they have a legal need.[43] Another story involves developing a “calculator, dial-like tool” for special education evaluation — the legal professionals were struggling to explain dates and timelines associated with legal rights.[44] By sharing their problem with their nonlawyer colleague, a solution was born: creating a new tool inspired by an item at the nurse’s station, a gestational calculator. A date calculator on the front and information on the back regarding printing advocacy letters from electronic medical records provided a way for both parents and medical professionals to know how to trigger legal rights.[45]

These stories showcase the value of an MLP is wide-ranging — from more effective advocacy (via strong relationships with health-care providers) to a stronger problem-resolution team. Moreover, excellent partnership outcomes involve one core MLP activity: legal professionals committing time and resources to train health-care teams on spotting legal issues for referral to the attorney. Embedding legal professionals in the health-care center working alongside the health-care team — “place-based lawyering” — allows for effective legal prevention.

The MLP paradigm outlines a model for the future of law practice. Moreover, the future of the lawyer-nonlawyer partnership has positive outcomes for managing client complexity. In recognizing the complexity inherent in client issues, we recognize the need for new frameworks to support clients. The American Academy of Arts & Sciences declared, “[MLPs]…among the most important innovations in civil justice in the last two decades,” and “provide a blueprint for a redesign of many legal services organizations’ programs.”[46] MLPs offer a practical framework for understanding a lawyer-nonlawyer partnership — especially because each local MLP has a unique form.[47] For legal professionals, learning and understanding new ways of working with nonlawyers requires a commitment to iteration.[48] Iteration has been occurring since the first MLP in 1993.[49] In October 2020, there were 450 MLPs at health-care organizations in 49 states and D.C.[50] Florida has 16 MLPs based on a 2019 survey and since 1996.[51] Moreover, Florida has unmined expertise in sharing the challenges and opportunities in interprofessional legal partnerships. MLPs were conceived and are practiced for vulnerable populations. Yet, we can allow this model to inspire new structures that redefine how we deliver value to all.

In-House (Corporate) Counsel[52]

Based on a 2014 United Nations Global Compact-Accenture global survey, consumers believe business is as accountable as governments for improving their lives.[53] Further, a 2021 Deloitte report for chief legal officers confirmed organizations are increasingly evaluated on their impact on society — “transforming them from business enterprises to social enterprises,” and as such, “as the enterprise develops a stronger relationship with its community… [and] its reinvestment into those communities [grows] in importance,” the charge of leading these activities will fall to the chief legal officer.[54] These high expectations from local communities, coupled with increasing complexity of operating a 21st century business, have contributed to the increasingly important role of in-house counsel.[55] Moreover, the scope of an in-house counsel role has broadened since the initial in-house lawyers in the 1930s — going beyond legal, including business, people, and policy issues.[56] The inherent complexities within in-house roles provide insight into lawyer-nonlawyer partnerships.[57]

In-house lawyers had to shift their mindset from traditional cultural values to be effective partners:

One-dimensional legal problems have swelled into multi-faceted, Goliath-sized business problems that span departments, disciplines, and geographies. As one general counsel put it, “I don’t have legal problems. I have ‘problem’ problems.” The complexity of today’s problems call for those specialists to collaborate across disciplinary and organizational boundaries to tackle those sophisticated issues.[58]

According to Dr. Heidi Gardner, lawyers collaborating with nonlawyer professionals can more strategically and effectively tackle problems versus working in silos.[59] Further, by being a well-networked collaborative partner across functions, Dr. Gardner found this approach yielded four times higher business outcomes than a less-networked peer.[60] A focus on other non-legal outcomes is an essential mindset and practice shift — requiring “adaptability” and “mission-orient[ation].”[61] One researcher highlighted, “[h]eeding the greater mission will probably require in-house counsel to think outside the legal box and to import an external point of view into law-based analysis.[62] For example, in negotiating a choice-of-law provision in a service contract, the overall goal is aiding the business rather than committing to an adversarial position. Counsel must balance legal advice with the mission, e.g., securing a contract is more valuable than the right to argue over provisions.[63] Mission-orientation is shown clearly by Robert Chestnut, former general counsel and chief ethics officer of Airbnb, in discussing an exchange with his CEO in response to anti-discriminatory uses of their platform:

I sat down with [Brian Chesky, CEO] and started going through the law, [and] Brian’s response was, ‘stop, I don’t care.’ I said ‘what do you mean you don’t care?’ and Brian said, ‘if people are being discriminated against based on the color of their skin on Airbnb, we’re failing as a company…[and] we’re going to fix it, and I don’t care what the law is.[64]

Complexity in the in-house environment requires new ways of working for lawyers. The lessons include understanding and navigating a core professional value: independent judgment of a lawyer. According to researchers, the in-house counsel environment tests the independent core value more than any other work setting — due to the complexity of this environment and the scope of duties.[65] Failed realizations of “independent judgment of the lawyer” in the in-house context (including the Enron scandal and government, e.g., the ‘Torture Memos” regarding Guantanamo Bay), involve critiques of placing “client interests before other interests — to the law, legal system, or the public interest,” suggesting that “the ultimate goal of lawyer independence is not merely neutrality, but rather fidelity to these other interests.”[66] For “these other interests” to win over, “there must be some endpoint to the duty to the client,” and what surfaces is “both a negative and a positive obligation: to not do ‘too much’ for the client and to act positively to advance the administration of justice.”[67] Independence is a pathway, not the goal, to another objective: credibility or breadth of knowledge.[68] Highlighting the challenges within in-house environments reveals learnings and opportunities for more thoughtful discussion — to recognize tested best practices in navigating the complexity of new ways of working to deliver new value to clients.[69]


Modern complexity demands new ways of working.[70] As reflected in MLPs and the in-house counsel environment, legal problems do not always come labeled “legal.” As a result, clients do not always know they need to seek guidance.[71] Perhaps we need to meet clients where they are, in essence, practice “place-based lawyering” — which in the broadest sense, means being in partnership with nonlawyers to avoid, identify, and solve problems.[72] As articulated by leading legal futurists, customers want solutions and outcomes, not lawyers.[73] Technology, of course, will assist with complexity and our new ways of working. However, researchers note advancing technology will force lawyers “to learn to be even more ‘human’ than today’s attorneys.”[74] The reality is the combination of professionals — a strategic partnership — will produce better outcomes for clients and all of us in the system.[75] Working in equal partnership with nonlawyers may remind us of the business we are in: “the same [business] that psychologists, doctors, priests, [and] parents…are in{:}…catering to the strongest of all human needs [—] the need for relational safety.”[76]

For both MLPs and the in-house counsel environment, being embedded in those environments means “practic[ing] law as a tool — a critical tool — for the advancement of [the mission].”[77] Mission-orientation from both scopes of practice is an essential lesson for a lawyer-nonlawyer partnership. For example, in the D.C. Bar (the first jurisdiction to allow hybrid partnerships), passive ownership is not permitted.[78] Moreover, the partnership needs to be oriented toward justice outcomes — as D.C. articulates it, “practicing law.”[79] Lessons from MLPs and the in-house environment inform new thinking and practice for other strategically minded, justice-oriented attorneys. Indeed, there are challenges to managing the complexity in new ways of working to achieve client and/or justice outcomes. Yet, we must also recognize the latent opportunities inspired by the foregoing, e.g., opening a law market informed by a proactive mindset shift, working in strategic partnership with nonlawyers.

Legal scholar Gillian K. Hadfield highlights the essence of innovation: “Innovation is not merely the discovery of new ideas; it is the scaling up of those ideas into implementable organizations, systems, products, equipment, and processes that generate economic value.”[80] Economic value extends to developing better structures to serve clients on legal matters but also delivering more value[81] by serving other needs, e.g., the ability to participate in the economic system or removing barriers to their health to participate — needs in which corporate and public interest actors share a vested interest. Let us be inspired by the lessons in MLPs and the in-house counsel environment and recognize we have models to safely create modern structures and new narratives of partnership that serve consumers, lawyers, and society.

[1] University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Law 2030: A Global Conversation About the Future of the Profession (Feb. 27-28, 2020),!event_id/60967/view/event.

[2] Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business, The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation, Presentation at 3 (2020) (on file with author).

[3] Id. at 166 (2016).

[4] See The Florida Bar, Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services,

[5] Rul. Reg. Fla. Bar 4-5.4.

[6] Id. Additional rules implicated by changes in the rule include Rul. Reg. Fla. Bar 4-5.5, 4-5.7, 4-8.6. Additionally, only subsection (c) will be addressed.

[7] See Aebra Coe, Where 5 States Stand On Nonlawyer Practice Of Law Regs, Law 360 (Feb. 5, 2021),; see also note 4.

[8] Mary C. Daly, What the MDP Debate Can Teach Us About Law Practice in the New Millennium and the Need for Curricular Reform, 50 J. Legal Educ. 521, 525 (2000), available at; see also The Florida Bar, Special Committee on Multidisciplinary Practice,

[9] Daly, What the MDP Debate Can Teach Us About Law Practice in the New Millennium and the Need for Curricular Reform at 526.

[10] Id.

[11] See The Florida Bar, Special Committee on Multidisciplinary Practice.

[12] Daly, What the MDP Debate Can Teach Us About Law Practice in the New Millennium and the Need for Curricular Reform at 526 n. 4.

[13] Id. at 523.

[14] See generally Timothy P. Chinaris, Book Review: Florida’s Other Courts: Unconventional Justice in the Sunshine State, 92 Fla. B. J. 7 (July/Aug. 2018), available at

[15] See generally John M. Stewart, Just How Interconnected We Are, 94 Fla. B. J. 3 (May/June 2020), available at

[16] See Lynn M. LoPucki, Systems Approach to Law, 82 Cornell L. Rev. 479, 522 (1997), available at (showcasing the value of systems analysis in law-related systems, “[it] is a methodology specifically directed at the management of complexity…it offers humanity the opportunity to take conscious control of the systems by which we live”).

[17] “Justice” is used interchangeably with “delivery of legal services” since in the delivery of legal services, a practitioner is part of broader justice ecosystem.

[18] See Gillian K. Hadfield, Rules for a Flat World 59 (2020) (“[L]aw is one of our critical institutions for the management of complexity.”; see also Thomas D. Barton, Redesigning Law and Lawyering for the Information Age, 30 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 1 (2016), available at; See note 36 (National Center, Singer, Lind); Center for Humane Technology, Ledger of Harms (Oct. 11, 2020),

[19] Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century 229 (2018).

[20] See note 35.

[21] See generally Gerlinde Berger-Walliser & Paul Shrivastava, Beyond Compliance: Sustainable Development, Business, and Proactive Law, 46 Geo. J. Int’l L. 417 (2015), available at (highlighting the value of proactive corporate action in preventing environmental harms); see also note 64; Alex Dimitrief, Where Does ESG Fit in Times of Crisis, Directors & Boards (Aug. 2020).

[22] See Sheldon Krantz, Help for Pro Se Litigants — It Takes a Village, Washington Lawyer 27 (Nov./Dec. 2020), available at (“Access to justice should be redefined as a community responsibility[.]”); see also Dimitrief, Where Does ESG Fit in Times of Crisis at 31 (“The decades since the civil rights act…have made it painfully clear that government alone cannot deliver on America’s promise of [equity].”).

[23] See generally Hadfield, Rules for a Flat World.

[24] Id. at 354 (“There are no sustainable solutions to [reducing poverty, developing sustainable energy, advancing education for women and girls, or eradicating disease] without the legal platform on which they can be built.”).

[25] Deloitte Center for the Edge, Redefine Work: The Untapped Opportunity for Expanding Value (2018) (articulating a refined view of providing value to customers and implications for the future of work), available at

[26] A design method that studies two extremes to yield broader solutions. See generally, DesignKit — Extremes and Mainstreams,

[27] See note 18.

[28] It is important to highlight the copious research available on interprofessional collaboration.See, e.g., Amy C. Edmondson, Wicked-Problem Solvers, Harvard Bus. Rev. (June 2016), available at (highlighting complex business ecosystem collaboration in Lake Nora, Florida); see also Michele DeStefano, Nonlawyers Influence Lawyers: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen or Stone Soup?, 80 Fordham L. Rev. 2791 (2012), available at (citing numerous articles regarding interprofessional research).

[29] A mindset shift in the practice of law has been occurring for quite some time and noted by many scholars. See, e.g., Susan Daicoff, The Future of the Legal Profession, 37 Monash U. L. Rev. 7 (2011), available at

[30] See Bethany Hamilton, Health and Civil Justice: Innovative Partnerships Between Medicine and the Law, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Dec. 8, 2020),

[31] Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Medical-Legal Partnerships: Origins and Ethical Lessons, 93 Neb. L. Rev. 636, 638 (2014), available at

[32] Id. at 637; see note 36.

[33] Hamilton, Health and Civil Justice: Innovative Partnerships Between Medicine and the Law at minute 15:25; see also American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Civil Justice for All: A Report and Recommendations from the Making Justice Accessible Initiative 20 (2020), available at; see also Miller-Wilson, Medical-Legal Partnerships: Origins and Ethical Lessons at 637.

[34] Id.

[35] Rishi Manchanda, What Makes Us Get Sick? Look Upstream, TED Talk (2016),; see also Brian Castrucci & John Auerbach, Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health, Health Affairs Blog (Jan. 16, 2019),

[36] National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships (hereinafter National Center), The Need,; Ellen M. Lawton & Megan Sandel, Investing in Legal Prevention: Connecting Access to Civil Justice and Healthcare through Medical-Legal Partnership, 35 J. Legal Med. 29 (2014) (“Laws and regulations are also important social determinants [of health] because they construct the environments in which individuals and populations live[.]”); see generally Merrill Singer, Introduction to Syndemics: A Critical Systems Approach to Public and Community Health (2009); see also Cristin Lind, Care Map, (image mapping the complexity of a child’s special medical needs).

[37] Samantha Morton, From Practice to Theory: Medical-Legal Partnership Enters its Third Decade, Boston Bar Association Health Law Reporter (Jan. 31, 2013),

[38] Id.

[39] Mallory Curran, Preventative Law: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Medical-Legal Partnership, 38 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 595, 596 (2014), available at

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] Id at 597.

[43] Rebecca L. Sandefur, Access to What?, 148 Dædalus 51 (Winter 2019), available at

[44] Curran, Preventative Law: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Medical-Legal Partnership at 600.

[45] Id. at 601.

[46] American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Civil Justice for All: A Report and Recommendations from the Making Justice Accessible Initiative at 18, 20.

[47] Curran, Preventative Law: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Medical-Legal Partnership at 596; see note 30.

[48] See note 30.

[49] Curran, Preventative Law: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Medical-Legal Partnership at 596; see also Randye Retkin et al., Attorneys and Social Workers Collaborating in HIV Care: Breaking New Ground, 24 Fordham Urb. L. J. 533 (1997) (highlighting partnership best practices in medical-legal context), available at

[50] See note 30; Liz Tobin-Tyler, Community Legal Services of Florida, Building A Statewide Medical-Legal Partnership Network in Florida 4 (Aug. 2020),

[51] Id.

[52] Captured within this term is “general counsel” and “chief legal officer.” For this article, this term includes for-profit, corporate in-house counsel only.

[53] Accenture and Havas Media, From Marketing to Mattering: Generating Business Value by Meeting the Expectations of 21st Century People — The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 13 (June 2014), available at

[54] Lori Lorenzo, Deloitte, A Matter of Trust: What Chief Legal Officers Should Know (2021), available at

[55] See Thomas D. Barton, Redesigning Law and Lawyering for the Information Age; see also Steven L. Lovett, The Employee-Lawyer: A Candid Reflection on the True Roles and Responsibilities of In-House Counsel, 34 J. L. & Com. 113, 116 (2015), available at

[56] E. Norman Veasey & Christine T. Di Guglielmo, Indispensable Counsel: The Chief Legal Officer in the New Reality 27 (2012).

[57] See generally Barton, Redesigning Law and Lawyering for the Information Age; DeStefano, Nonlawyers Influence Lawyers: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen or Stone Soup?

[58] Heidi K. Gardner, Harvard Law School Center for the Legal Profession, Harness the Power of Smart Collaboration for In-house Lawyers 2, available at

[59] Id.; Lovett, The Employee-Lawyer: A Candid Reflection on the True Roles and Responsibilities of In-House Counsel at 139-143.

[60] Gardner, Harness the Power of Smart Collaboration for In-House Lawyers at 6.

[61] Lovett, The Employee-Lawyer: A Candid Reflection on the True Roles and Responsibilities of In-House Counsel at 139-143.

[62] Id. at 143.

[63] Id.

[64] Robert Chestnut, Driving Integrity Into the Culture of Your Team 2020 Product Leader Summit, Intentional Integrity (Sept. 20, 2020) (relevant video excerpt at minutes 32:00-34:04),

[65] Suzanne Le Mire, Testing Times: In-House Counsel and Independence, 14 Legal Ethics 21, 23 (2011), available at

[66] Id. at 28.

[67] Id.

[68] Id.

[69] See generally Barton, Redesigning Law and Lawyering for the Information Age at 3 (“[T]he [business and law] struggle can be valuable in itself…an attorney who conscientiously grapples with the relationship displays integrity to the client, which inspires trust…[and leads to successful outcomes for the business and lawyer].”) (paraphrasing Timothy P. Terrell, Professionalism as Trust: The Unique Internal Legal Role of the Corporate General Counsel, 46 Emory L. J. 1005, 1005 (1997)).

[70] See Edmondson, Wicked-Problem Solvers; see also note 55, and Hadfield, Rules for a Flat World.

[71] See note 43.

[72] The implications of place-based lawyering are for a more intentional preventive law practice. See generally Barton, Redesigning Law and Lawyering for the Information Age (describing preventive/proactive lawyering).

[73] Erin Coe, The Skills Every Future Lawyer Needs, Law 360 (Feb. 10, 2020) (quoting Richard Susskind), available at

[74] Id.

[75] See generally Colleen F. Shanahan & Anna E. Carpenter, Simplified Courts Can’t Solve Inequality, 148 Dædalus 133-134 (Winter 2019), available at (“[L]awyers need to accept that court simplification, self-help, unbundled legal services, design thinking, and similar ideas address only short-term symptoms and perpetuate the underlying problems.”).

[76] Bob Murray & Alicia Fortinberry, Leading the Future: The Human Science of Law Firm Strategy and Leadership 4 (2016), available at

[77] Lovett, The Employee-Lawyer: A Candid Reflection on the True Roles and Responsibilities of In-House Counsel at 148.

[78] Saul Jay Singer, Rule 5.4(b) — It’s Not as Easy As You Think!, Washington Lawyer 50-51 (Jan./Feb. 2021).

[79] Id.

[80] Gillian K. Hadfield, Legal Barriers to Innovation: The Growing Economic Cost of Professional Control Over Corporate Legal Markets, 60 Stan. L. Rev. 1689, 1723 (2008).

[81] See note 25.

Ann Marie PuenteAnn Marie Puente has a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida and a master’s in design management from Pratt Institute. She is a graduate instructor at Parsons School of Design, Strategic Design & Management; AIGA National Board; circuit court-certified mediator; and of counsel at Anfield Consulting, West Palm Beach.

This column is submitted on behalf of the Public Interest Law Section, Martha Angela Pardo, chair, and Sabarish P. Neelakanta, editor.

Public Interest Law