The Jacoby & Meyers suit against the Judges of the Connecticut Superior Court: a brief explanation of what is to follow

The complaint in Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices v. The Judges of the Connecticut Superior Court is fascinating – at least to me.  I plan on putting up a series of short posts drawing attention to various parts of the complaint.  In doing so I wish to make clear that I do not intend to address directly the issue of whether there should be a carefully drafted rule permitting non-lawyer investment in law firms subject to well thought-out limitations and conditions that will enhance the capacity of the legal profession to service clients in a manner consistent with long standing principles of the legal profession.  My focus will be on the way in which Jacoby & Meyers has chosen to achieve its goal and the goal itself:  namely an order from a Federal Court Judge forbidding the Judges of the Superior Court from enforcing Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4.  If that relief were to be granted, there would be no limitations or conditions to non-lawyer investment in law firms.  I suppose Walmart could buy Jacoby & Meyers, a transaction that, I imagine, could further Jacoby & Meyers mission of making legal services more affordable to low and middle income families and individuals and add to Walmart’s reputation of being a low cost provider of things consumers need. (Roast chickens, Aisle 1, Footwear, Aisle 10, Wills, Aisle 12, Divorces, Aisle 15). What would be wrong with that? Maybe Jacoby & Meyers envisions borrowing a page from(and competing with) LegalZoom by using technology to lower the cost to consumers (at some point a more appropriate word than clients) by automating everything that can possibly be automated in their practice of law.  The difference  between that model and LegalZoom’s would, of course, be that Jacoby & Meyers would try to be more than a document preparation service.  Instead of using fine print to announce – as LegalZoom does – that its services do not constitute the practice of law, Jacoby & Meyers could advertise that it is engaged in the practice of law and that customers / clients would be getting more value by choosing Jacoby & Meyers over LegalZoom.  Let the competition begin!  But even if that is Jacoby & Meyers’ vision, the issue is more complex than I’ve just made it sound.  More on that later.