COULD COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION COMPANIES IMPROVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE?
Keywords:Legal Ethics, Trust Law, Access to Justice, Alternative Business Structure, public interest, Community Contribution Companies, Community Interest Corporations, Hybrid Corporation, Public Benefit Corporation, ABS, Impact Investing, Business Organization, Legal Innovation, Best Interest, Fiduciary Duty, Distributive Justice, Non-lawyer Ownership, Income Tax Law, Community Purpose
AbstractThe legal profession is engaged in two related debates: how to improve access to justice and whether to liberalize its rules of professional conduct to permit “alternative business structures” and non-lawyer ownership. The purpose of this article is to inform readers about the “community contribution company,” or C3—a new type of hybrid corporation introduced in British Columbia—and to examine the potential of C3s or similar corporate forms to respond to both of these challenges. A C3 is a for-profit entity, but profits are subordinated to the company’s chosen “community purpose.” In the UK, where alternative business structures and non-lawyer ownership are permitted, a similar type of corporation has been used to provide both low-cost legal services and as a potential source of funding to free legal clinics. Canadian provincial law societies could use C3s to test alternative business structures and non-lawyer ownership through a corporate structure that addresses some of the concerns typically raised in this debate.
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