The Arizona Supreme Court has granted an alternative business structure license to law company Elevate, enabling Elevate and its affiliated law firm, ElevateNext, to operate as a single entity in that state, the company says.
This makes Elevate the first non-lawyer-owned law company, LPO, or ALSP in the United States to operate with an integrated law firm.
The company says the licensing “uniquely positions Elevate to address customer needs that require some aspect of legal practice along with technology, consulting, or services for ‘run the company’ business operations.”
In August 2020, Arizona became the first state to eliminate the ban on non-lawyer ownership of law firms. In ordering that change, as well as a package of additional reforms, the Arizona Supreme Court acted on the recommendations of a task force that had called for fundamental changes in the regulation of legal services, all with the goal of enhancing access to justice.
In its statement announcing the order, the court described its move as making “far-reaching changes that could transform the public’s access to legal services.”
“Our customers come to us for help with problems that typically require some element of legal advice but are best solved by integrating that expertise with legal operations, technology, and services at scale,” said Nicole Auerbach, the lawyer and Elevate vice president who leads the ElevateNext services.
“Elevate customers now have a choice they previously lacked – to use a single company for all ‘run the company’ work that requires practicing lawyers at the helm or in the mix.”
Applications to be licensed as an ABS must first be reviewed and approved by the Committee on Alternative Business Structures. The committee’s recommendations are then sent to the Supreme Court for final approval or rejection.