Law Firms

A U.K. legal regulator has given Reed Smith approval to adopt an alternative business structure that allows the firm to have nonlawyer partners.

Reed Smith is the first international law firm to convert to an alternative business structure, report Law360, the American Lawyer and a press release.

Reed Smith announced Monday that the Solicitors Regulation Authority had given its approval.

An alternative business structure allows law firms to be managed and owned by individuals without legal training, to provide services beyond traditional legal advice, and to receive outside investment.

M. Tamara Box, Reed Smith’s managing partner for Europe and the Middle East, said in the press release that Reed Smith was “future-proofing” its business.

The structure gives Reed Smith “the agility to immediately seize new opportunities—in tech, big data and other specialized consultancy services—that will help us drive our clients’ businesses forward,” Box said.

U.K. law firms were allowed to convert to alternative business structures as a result of the 2007 Legal Services Act. In the United States, law firms can include nonlawyer partners only in Washington, D.C., though some states are considering rule changes to allow alternative business structures.