All actively involved lawyers holding voting shares become personally liable for any pecuniary loss by a client resulting from theft by anyone in the law firm (s18).
Before a lawyer can hold shares (whether voting or non-voting) in an incorporated law firm, they must be entitled to practise on his or her own account (s30(2)).
Incorporating a law firm protects the directors and shareholders from personal liability for debts of the incorporated law firm. Section 17(1) makes it clear that just being a director or a shareholder does not make someone liable for:
However, lawyer directors and shareholders will be liable for any theft that may occur (s18).
It will not be possible to negate tortious liability of a lawyer who is a director or shareholder, as this would be inconsistent with the provisions of s17(2). A lawyer who is a director or shareholder of an incorporated law firm is subject to all the professional obligations to which they would be subject if they were in practice on their own account.