NEW YORK, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Andrew G. Finkelstein, managing partner of the law offices of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, one of the nation’s oldest and largest personal injury law firms, recently participated in a panel discussion on “Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services” at Harvard Law School’s March conference. Joining Finkelstein on the panel were other recognized legal experts including Incoming President of the American Bar Association, William Hubbard, Director of Policy at Cooperative Legal Services, Christina Blacklaws, Chief Executive of UK Legal Services Board, Chris Kenny, and Chairman of Deloitte Legal, Ian Tod.
As a panel member, Finkelstein addressed the issue of non-lawyer ownership of law firms in the United States. “Prohibiting non-lawyers from having an ownership stake in U.S. law firms inhibits a firm’s opportunities for growth and change,” said Finkelstein. “The silos that attorneys are forced to stay within stifle innovation and as a result limit access to legal assistance for many who need it.”
Finkelstein, who believes excluding non-lawyer investment in law firm ownership is unconstitutional, has begun challenging this statute in court. “80 percent of the poor in this country do not have access to legal services,” said Finkelstein. “We must be responsive to the need and make service more accessible – looking at new ways to do things so that more may be served is at the heart of what disruptive innovation is all about,” added Finkelstein.
In his letter inviting Mr. Finkelstein to participate in the prestigious law school’s conference, David Wilkins, Harvard Law School’s Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, wrote, “I am writing to invite you to join us as one of a very select group of leaders of law, business, government, and academia … As a pioneering leader in a rapidly changing legal services industry, we can imagine no one more suited to participate as a speaker on one of our panel discussions.”
The theory of disruptive innovation was first coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, who will deliver the keynote address at the conference. As stated on the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation website (www.christenseninstitute.org), the disruptive innovation theory explains the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability where complication and high cost are the status quo. Initially, a disruptive innovation is formed in a niche market that may appear unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents, but eventually the new product or idea completely redefines the industry.
More than 250 disruptors, innovators, lawyers, corporate leaders, and other thought leaders from around the world participated in the conference.