Socially Responsible Lawyering

 

When we started karmacounsel.org, the most common comment received from other attorneys was “that’s so great you are doing all that pro bono work.” This is the fundamental misperception of the entire legal industry–anything socially responsible must be geared towards the indigent. Our response was always, “we love doing pro bono because all of our cases, even the corporate cases that pay us are pro bono because we donate all of our profits to charities.”

Karma Counsel PLC, the parent organization for karmacounsel.org is an Arizona law firm. Hamid Jabbar, it’s principal attorney is licensed in California and Arizona. When needed, Karma Counsel PLC associates with attorneys in other states and we are currently working to build a nation-wide network. With over a decade of experience representing individuals and businesses, including businesses with annual revenues exceeding $50 million, the karmacounsel.org attorneys are well-equipped to handle the most complex corporate matters. What makes our practice different is our mission–we are not in this to become financially wealthy, we are in this to make the world a better place. We do this by donating all of our profits to charities.

B Corporations vs. PLCs vs. Not-for-profits

 

The United States remains stagnant in the rule that only attorneys may hold ownership interests in law firms. While anyone can own a doctors office, or even a dental practice that employs dentists, no non-lawyer can hold any interest in any law firm. While this rule has an ethical background, in current practice it simply leads to one thing: total secrecy as to how law firms operate, spend their money, and compensate their attorneys. Naturally, lawyers (who write the laws) enjoy this secrecy and want to keep it that way.

When we first formed karmacounsel.org, we went the route of forming as a California Public Benefit Corporation. We soon found out that 501(c)(3) organizations cannot practice law or offer legal services. You may ask how that makes any sense and it all goes back to the rule about non-lawyers not being able to own interests in law firms. With 501(c)(3) companies, there really are no owners at all, which creates essentially the same problem. Naturally, there is another type of non-profit that is allowed to offer legal services, but it is not allowed to offer all legal services to all communities. After we had operated for a while under California’s non-profit law, we looked into forming as a B Corporation, and we do like the looks of B Corporations. A few other law firms have gone that route and we are not ruling it out. However, there are aspects to the reporting that make it an onerous process. Therefore, we have currently settled to remain a simply Professional Limited Liability Company for the time being, but have pledged, and contractually agree in our client engagement agreements, that we donate all of our profits to charity. The simplicity of reporting and freedom of operating as a PLC currently suits us, though we are always open to change.

Types of Corporate Cases

 

We have experience in all manner of corporate representation, including litigation, transactions, bankruptcy, intellectual property, arbitration, mediation, and real estate. Our fees are always non-recourse, which means we never sue a client for unpaid fees. If a client doesn’t pay, its their karma, not ours. Our fees are competitive with the top firms in the area at the top end of our sliding scale, and extremely affordable for businesses on the lower end of our sliding scale. For clients who are themselves karma conscious entities, we also work on a donation basis where the client sets the fee that works for them (though we do suggest an appropriate donation as a guideline). In any case, our representation is not focused on the fees. We focus on helping and counseling our clients towards the best possible results.

 

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