Managed service organizations running the back office of many medical and dental practices have already gained prominence as private equity’s structure of choice for entering the health care sector, according to lawyers brokering these so-called MSO deals. Now, investors are eyeing similar opportunities in the legal industry.

The rationale for a medical practice bundling together nonclinical operations into a separate entity reflects the motivation of lawyers spinning off their back office to a private equity shop: doctors and dentists recognize their expertise lies in patient care, not information technology or human resources, yet many states bar nonphysicians from operating medical practices or sharing in the profits.