Constitutional Law

Jacoby Brief Asserts Need for Judge with 'Profile in Courage' and a Cash Infusion

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The law firm Jacoby & Meyers is attacking the “blunderbuss of procedural arguments” raised by defendants seeking to uphold a ban on outside ownership of law firms in New York state.

The defendants are New York judges, and the state attorney general is asserting immunity and other procedural bars to suit, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. The firm is fighting a motion to dismiss in a brief that makes a personal appeal to Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

“This court stands at the crossroads of the modern-day evolution of the practice of law,” the brief says. “The status quo is changing, and practitioners in the United States are at risk of falling behind. Jacoby & Meyers is prepared to adapt to the new realities of the profession, but needs a jurist with the same profile in courage to ensure that antiquated barriers to its survival are cast aside.”

The law firm maintains it needs outside capital to hire more lawyers, acquire new technology and improve its infrastructure. It has also filed suit in Connecticut and New Jersey. The suits claim the nonlawyer ownership ban unconstitutionally restricts interstate commerce.

The judges are named because they enforce state ethics rules that bar nonlawyer ownership of law firms, according to the brief.

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