In the past year, there have been many rumors about changes in the CO arrangement as well as disfellowshipping. I think that there is a solid legal rationale for these proposed changes that relates strongly to these two areas.
It's called 'Deep Pockets' and the Chain of Command.
Consider the fact that elders are appointed by the Watchtower Society and have the power to expel members from the entire organization. This is very different from the first Century during which you could be tossed out of one synagogue/church but accepted somewhere else.
The elders send out records of each disfellowshipping to Headquarters attesting to the fact that the organization is strongly centralized. If they run into any question or trouble, they are ordered to call the Watchtower for instructions: more evidence of central command. Elders are commanded in Kingdom Ministry School to strictly avoid a specified list of 'things never to write' on a disfellowshipping form. These instructions are to be written by hand in each Elder's Manual so that the Society can avoid any printed evidence. This subterfuge manifests that they are afraid of legal liability in regard to disfellowshipping.
Likewise with the Circuit Overseer arrangement, they are utterly centralized in command. There is a strict pecking order, a chain of command, a hierarchy no different from the Catholic Church ( in legal terms).
Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are in no way autonomous. Let's throw in the fact that congregations may be owned by the Watchtower Society, at least as a 'bank' that holds the loan. This could also be why they want to end the loans for Kingdom Halls, besides the lack of contributions.
Under the First Amendment and separation of church and state, they have no problem with disfellowshipping itself but that doesn't mean it can't be chipped away by charges of slander or using the threat of df'ing to conceal crime ( like child molesting). It also makes elders the local unpaid agents of the Watchtower Society in enforcement! Let's add the loss of hiding behind a clerical privilege in recent court cases. They can't be so stupid as to think that all elders will eagerly 'fall on their own sword' when compelled to testify in court.
Put yourself in their shoes for a second: Knowing what you know about 'window-washer', 'cheese-cracker men' elders and their loss in both numbers and quality over past few years, would you feel secure about the organization avoiding legal trouble?
They have a real problem. They cannot survive a 'Catholic-level' set of successful lawsuits but they are stuck with a chain of command hierarchy that creates a deep pocket opportunity for lawyers to cash in! Unless they change, this scenario will happen eventually.
So far, the sheer greediness of the Governing Body has prevented reform of this chain of command problem - in that their lust for power and control over others has stopped them from loosening their grip.
Will they wake up and address this situation? Or just be satisfied with trying to deceive authorities with 'voluntary dissassociation' and other transparent deceptions?
We will see....