Licensed to Practice in MS, TN & AL (662) 841-2493

Should Lawyers Be Allowed to Practice in Multidisciplinary Practices?

Published in The Mississippi Lawyer, Vol. XLVIII, June 2002, No. 5

Part I – Introduction

For a number of years lawyers in the United States have been grappling with the issue of whether lawyers should be allowed to participate in Multidisciplinary Practices (“MDPs”). During the past few years this issue has been elevated to a high profile issue by the American Bar Association (“ABA”) and various state bar associations. In fact, the rapid expansion of professional service firms into the business of law has been described as one of the most important issues facing the legal profession.

The Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates (“Commission”) defines an MDP as follows:

A partnership, professional corporation, or other association or entity that includes lawyers and non-lawyers and has as one, but not all, of its purposes the delivery of legal services to a client(s) other than the MDP itself or that holds itself out to the public as providing nonlegal, as well as legal services. It includes an arrangement by which a law firm joins with one or more other professional firms to provide services, and there is a direct or indirect sharing of profits as part of the arrangement1.

Lawyers and non-lawyers most often tend to think of MDPs as only being professional partnerships between lawyers and accountants and much of the public debate regarding MDPs has centered around the relationship between lawyers and accountants. This is most likely due to the fact that the huge client dollars of the large corporate institutions are in play, and at least in the areas of business practice, the roles of lawyers and accountants are less sharply defined than in other types of law such as litigation.

Nevertheless, MDPs can take many forms. For example, a lawyer, a social worker and a financial services agent might form an MDP to provide legal and nonlegal services for counseling older clients regarding estate planning and nursing home care. Another example of an MDP is a lawyer, an accountant, an architect and an engineer who form an MDP to provide one-stop professional services support for the construction industry. Still another example of an MDP is a real estate attorney, real estate broker, a title company, and a real estate appraiser who form a business relationship to provide one-stop professional real estate services for the residential housing market.

The legal profession in the United States has a long history of only lawyers engaging in and controlling the practice of law2. Only lawyers can directly profit from the practices of law 3 and hold ownership interest in a law firm4. The Bar’s rules prohibit a lawyer from practicing law in a jurisdiction to which he or she is not admitted or assisting non-lawyers in the practice of law5. “To the extent non-lawyers are allowed to participate in the delivery of legal services, they [non-lawyers] must do so as employees or independent contractors under the supervision of lawyers.”6 Consequently, pursuant to the ethical rules, MDPs are not currently allowed in the United States.7

The other principle obstacle to MDPs in the United States is Unauthorized Practice of Law Statutes (“UPL Statutes”). However, the ability of UPL Statutes to stop the formation and activities of MDPs is limited. Every state has statutes which prohibit the unauthorized practice of law by people who are not licensed to practice law8. UPL Statutes have existed for over one hundred (100) years in the United States and show no signs of abating in the near future9. However, a laissez-faire approach by the organized bar to enforce UPL Statutes against the “Big Five” accounting firms (“Big Five”) has developed resulting in a majority of the activities by the Big Five in the United States being unchallenged10. The Big Five typically deny they are violating the UPL Statutes by claiming they are not providing legal services to their clients and claiming that the non-accounting services they provide are “consulting” services rather than legal services11. Further, UPL Statutes protect the public from non-lawyers practicing law. In MDPs, legal services are normally provided by attorneys, thereby often making the UPL Statutes non-applicable.

Some claim that if lawyers try to enforce UPL Statutes against the Big Five, lawyers run the risk of appearing hypocritical. For example, many services offered by corporate and tax departments of law firms look more like consulting firms than the practice of law, many law firms in Washington D.C. have political lobbying groups, and a number of Boston firms are involved in asset management for their clients12. Thus, attorneys, state bar associations and any other parties interested in preventing the formation and operation of MDPs are effectively left with enforcing the subject state’s ethics rules, such as the rules modeled after Rule 5.4, which precludes a lawyer from sharing his fee with a non-lawyer13.

Is it a foregone conclusion that the United States will be swept by the globalization wave and adopt the necessary structures and rules to allow the formation of MDPs?

Until relatively recently, most European countries had traditional law firms in well-defined legal professions14. As a result of the creation of the European Union, the restructuring of European countries, and the growing number of transnational European companies, a new market for legal services has emerged and the old business law structures are incapable of meeting the demands of modern Europe15. Currently, most European countries allow accounting firms to practice law or to affiliate with independent law firms16. All of the Big Five actively offer legal services in many countries such as France, Spain, Australia, and the Confederation of the Independent States of the former Soviet Union17.

Is it a foregone conclusion that the United States will be swept by the globalization wave and adopt the necessary structures and rules to allow the formation of MDPs? Many believe that the most visible invaders of the legal profession in the United States are the Big Five and that the Big Five have effectively already infiltrated the United States legal market. These firms employ over five thousand (5,000) lawyers who provide law-related consulting services in the United States18. These firms have historically only performed accounting and tax services. However, in today’s marketplace the Big Five have expanded into areas traditionally reserved for lawyers, such as mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, consulting in patent, copyright and trademark disputes, and even litigation19.

Advocates for the allowance of the formation of MDPs argue that MDPs should be allowed to form because (1) There is demand by all types and sizes of clients for one-stop shopping for various professional services; (2) Lawyers and non-lawyers working together blend complimentary problem-solving techniques such that a client’s complex needs are more effectively and fully satisfied; (3) Maximum efficiency and economies of scale will be obtained by allowing MDPs to form, thereby lowering the cost of the services provided by an MDP, as opposed to a stand-alone service provider; (4) MDPs deal better with the increasingly complex international-oriented world in which non-law factors such as economics and sociology must be integrated into a transaction in addition to legal factors; (5) MDPs are in a better position than stand-alone professional firms to counteract the problem of individual professionals doing too much of the wrong type of specialized work for clients; and (6) From a de facto standpoint, MDPs already exist in the United States (i.e. lawyers practicing in accounting firms, and lawyers practicing in private banking trust departments of banks), therefore, in order to maintain control over these lawyers’ activities, MDPs should be allowed to form such that those lawyers can be regulated by the Bar20.

Those who oppose allowing lawyers to practice law in an MDP setting argue that (1) MDPs will cause an unacceptable deterioration in core legal values such as lawyer independence, confidentiality, loyalty to clients through the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and commitment to pro bono publico legal service; (2) When attorneys become actively involved in other businesses through MDPs, the quality of legal work will decline; (3) The Big Five have artificially created a demand for MDPs in the United States in order to grab more of a share of the professional services market; (4) Lawyers’ involvement in MDPs will lead to the legal profession’s loss of the ability to regulate itself; and (5) The practice of law is a unique profession and lawyers should resist attempts to further commercialize the practice of law21.

The forces of change are bearing down on society and the legal profession with unprecedented intensity.

Part II – Recent Activity Regarding MDPs by the ABA and The Mississippi
Bar

In August of 1998, then ABA President Phillip S. Anderson charged the Commission to determine what changes, if any, should be made to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the prohibition against MDPs. In August of 1999, the Commission issued a report in which it stated, “[a]fter extensive reflection and analysis, the Commission has concluded that there is an interest by clients in the option to select and use lawyers as part of a multidisciplinary practice.” The Commission also stated that, although no empirical date is available, representatives of both individual and corporate clients expressed support for relaxing the rules of professional conduct which currently prohibit MDPs.

In August of 2000, the Commission issued another report in which the Commission again recommended that lawyers be allowed to practice law in an MDP setting provided that lawyers have the control and authority to assure lawyer independence in the rendering of legal services within an MDP setting. The Commission stated, “[T]he forces of change are bearing down on society and the legal profession with unprecedented intensity.” These forces include continued client interest in more efficient and less costly legal services, frustration with America’s dispute resolution system, globalization, stepped-up activities of banks, investment companies and financial planners offering products which embody a significant amount of legal engineering, and the strategy of Big Five professional services firms and their smaller-size counterparts that has resulted in thousands of lawyers providing services to the public while denying their accountability to the lawyer regulatory system. The Commission stated that the legal profession must take a proactive role with regard to these events in order to best serve the public and maintain its crucial role in the maintenance of a democratic society.

When the ABA House of Delegates voted on July 11, 2000, the Commission’s recommendations contained in the 1999 and 2000 MDP Commission Reports were clearly rejected by a margin of nearly three (3) to one (1)22. The ABA House of Delegates stated that the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers and the ownership and control of the practice of law by non-lawyers is inconsistent with the core values of the legal profession. A former ABA President stated that the problem with the vote is that “the ABA has lost the chance to provide essential leadership on the most crucial issue of our generation.”23

As part of the ABA’s request for input from the various state bar associations, in 1999 The Mississippi Bar formed a task force to explore the issue of whether MDPs should be allowed in Mississippi. This task force decided to disband. 24

A significant amount of activity has taken place from a national perspective since the ABA House of Delegates rejected the Commission’s recommendation that MDPs be allowed to form in the summer of 2000. As of May 2002, ten (10) jurisdictions have taken action that is positive towards the allowance of MDPs. However, eighteen (18) states have specifically rejected MDPs. The remaining states are either still studying the issue or have no plans to address the issue of MDPs.25

Part III – The Pros and Cons of MDPs as MDPs Relate to the Core Lawyer
Values of Independence of Judgment, Confidentiality, and Loyalty
to Clients Through the Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest

A. The Impact of MDPs on a Lawyer’s Independence of Judgment: 

The core value of professional independence is fundamental in the MDP debate. Rule 5.4 provides the most direct rules regarding a lawyers’ independence of judgment. In addition to Rule 5.4’s current prohibition against lawyers sharing fees with non-lawyers, Rule 5.4 states that a lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer or practice law with non-lawyers if any activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

Many believe that if MDPs are allowed to form, non-lawyers may improperly influence lawyers’ decisions regarding firm management, the firm’s involvement in legal activities, and the public role of the firm’s attorneys26. Critics argue that non-lawyers do not have an understanding and appreciation for the core values of the legal profession. The most basic argument of those opposed to the formation of MDPs is the belief that if a lawyer must answer to a non-lawyer or share fees with non-lawyers, there is an overwhelming risk that the lawyer’s professional judgment could be swayed by his or her own economic interest or by other improper considerations27. Even if the non-lawyer is not in control of a lawyer in an MDP, “it is equally clear that a non-lawyer who is entitled to share a lawyer’s fee is likely to seek to influence the lawyer so as to maximize those fees.”28 For example, if an MDP composed of lawyers and real estate professionals is providing both legal and real estate services to a client, the potential profit from a property transaction may affect the legal advice given to the client regarding whether to enter into the transaction.

People and groups in favor of MDPs simply argue that there is no hard evidence that lawyers practicing in MDPs will be less likely to fulfill their ethical duties than lawyers practicing in traditional law firms. These people believe that lawyers have the intrinsic intestinal fortitude to remain independent, and that when non-lawyers in MDPs are apprised of ethical duties of lawyers, non-lawyers in MDPs will respect the ethical duties imposed on lawyers. For example, many lawyers work under the “Command and Control Model” in that these lawyers are employees of corporations, trade associations, government entities, etcetera29. The Rules have been amended to provide that a lawyer retain the ability to exercise independence of judgment in those setting and there is no evidence that lawyers working under the “Command and Control Model” fail to exercise independent judgment any more than lawyers working in traditional law firms30.

B. The Impact of MDPs on the Protection of Confidential Client Information:

Opponents of MDPs generally argue that allowing lawyers to partner with other professionals whose communications are subject to either no confidentiality or less protective confidentiality rules will confuse an MDPs clients’ understanding of whether the client’s communications with the MDP or any individual member of the MDP are privileged. This lack of understanding by clients and the desire of MDPs to obtain the work even though such work may present a conflict with one of the MDP’s divisions may lead MDPs to seek and obtain unwarranted waivers of the attorney-client privilege or other professional confidentiality privileges to which the client is entitled. An additional fear is that if a clients utilizes and MDP for a matter which eventually is the subject of litigation and if the client had communications with non-lawyers in the MDP prior to the matter going to litigation, then because communications with non-lawyers may not be protected by a confidentiality privilege, non-lawyer MDP employees may be called as witnesses against the client of the MDP31.

Specifically, critics of MDPs argue that accounting firms and lawyers are not governed by the same ethics rules and the integration of the two professions is intrinsically incompatible from a protection of confidential client information standpoint32. This incompatibility stems from the fact that accountants and lawyers are seen as having two different duties. The lawyer has a duty of advocacy while the accountant has a duty of objectivity33. This different view of the role of lawyers and accountants has lead to a profound difference in the confidentiality of information standards for lawyers and accountants. Rule 1.6 governs the confidentiality of information received by an attorney and states in part that “[A] lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation.” On the other hand, an accountant’s role is one of objectivity and in this role accountants, serving as auditors, have a duty to disclose information to the public or other applicable parties that the accounting profession deems to be relevant to the public’s knowledge of the financial standing of the accountant’s client34. Accountants who have failed to disclose information in their possession to the public that is relevant to the accountant’s role as an auditor may be the subject of a malpractice legal action35.

It would not be an uncommon scenario for a lawyer working for an MDP to acquire knowledge which the lawyer deems to be confidential, but which the MDP’s accountant believes should be disclosed to the public36. For example, how should a lawyer employed by an MDP react if the lawyer learns in the course of representing a financial services company in a lawsuit involving deceptive activity by the company’s sales personnel that the CEO of one of the MDP’s largest clients is overstating sales, which has a direct impact on the auditing function of the MDP? Should the lawyer disclose this information to the MDP’s management group and/or the public? Is the lawyer or the MDP liable for malpractice if the MDP does not disclose this information to some extent? In this scenario the question must be asked: Is any attention being paid to the public, or is the lawyer just serving the CEO, the CEO’s company, or the MDP?37

The Commission recommended that no change be made to the lawyer’s obligation to protect confidential client information. In the proposed changes to Rule 1.6, the Commission recognized that lawyers who provide legal services in MDPs may encounter confidentiality problems that require special attention38. A lawyer in an MDP who delivers legal services in an MDP and who works with or is assisted by non-lawyers in the MDP who are delivering nonlegal services (i.e. accountants), “should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the non-lawyers behave in a manner that discharges the lawyer’s obligation of confidentiality.”39

Thus, with regard to the questions posed above regarding the CEO who is fraudulently reporting sales information, the Commission’s recommendation would most likely require the lawyer to keep such information confidential because Rule 1.6 states that a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client consents. However, simply retaining existing Rule 1.6 does not answer two questions. First, would the MDP be liable for not disclosing this information in light of the fact that the MDP was concurrently serving as the auditor of the financial services company? Second, what happens if the individual lawyer’s activities in the MDP could be construed as involving enough of an accounting function so that the lawyer would be subject to the accountant’s broader standard of disclosure? The only way in which the 1999 Commission Report addressed these questions was through one of the proposed amendments to Rule 1.6.

The proposed amendment to Rule 1.6 states that in the context of an MDP there is particular concern regarding the loss of the attorney-client privilege arising from the fact that MDP clients might not be aware of the different standards of confidentiality for professionals in the MDP. Therefore, the Commission stated that MDP clients should be informed of the differing confidentiality privileges that exist in an MDP, and a lawyer in an MDP should take measures as shall be necessary to prevent disclosure of confidential information to members of the MDP who are not providing services in connection with the delivery of legal services to the client. This proposed amendment does not specifically address the inherent tension between the different standards of confidentiality that exist between lawyers and accountants. This proposed amendment to Rule 1.6 also does not address the potential liability for the MDP in the event the MDP, as an entity, does not disclose information to the public that its accountants are under an obligation to disclose. Instead, the 1999 Commission Report appears to not recognize that the dramatic differences between a lawyer’s confidentiality requirements and the confidentiality requirements of accountants.

However, in the 2000 Commission Report, the Commission addressed the apparent inherent incompatibility of providing legal and audit services to the same client. In a rather strong and potentially far reaching statement considering the players in the MDP debate, the 2000 Commission Report stated that it does not believe that a single entity should be allowed to provide legal and audit services to the same client. The Commission also acknowledged that, in addition to auditors, non-lawyer professionals may be subject to different rules governing the disclosure of client information to third parties (i.e. in cases of suspected child abuse mental health professionals have disclosure obligations). Consequently, there may be other situations in which an MDP should not be permitted to provide both legal service and some other form of services to the same client.

Supporters of MDPs contend that even though it will be a challenge, the conflict of interest analysis in an MDP setting is arguably no more complex than the merger of two very large multinational law firms or the problems encountered by large domestic multi-office law firms in the United States.

C. The Impact of MDPs on Loyalty to The Client Through Avoidance of
Conflicts of Interest: 

Both lawyers and accountants are governed by rules which prohibit conflicts of interest. For a lawyer, a conflict of interest arises when there is a substantial risk that the lawyer’s representation of a client will be materially and adversely affected by the lawyer’s own interests, or the lawyer’s duties to another client, a former client or a third person40. In similar fashion, when acting as an advisor to a client, a lawyer must exercise independent judgment and render candid advice41. When appropriate a lawyer may also urge a client to seek advice from professionals in related professions such as accountants, psychiatrists or family counselors.42

Critics of MDPs argue that “[T]he AICPA [American Institute of Certified Public Accountants] rules are designed to ensure the objectivity of individuals, while the ABA rules impute conflicts to the firm as a whole.”43 Even if a direct conflict exists between clients of an accounting firm, the conflict will be deemed not to exist if both clients are fully informed of the conflict and agreed to waive the said direct conflict.44 On the other hand, a lawyer and a law firm may not circumvent a direct conflict as easily as an accountant and an accounting firm. A lawyer shall not represent a client if such representation is directly adverse to the client, unless the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client and each client consents after consultation.45 However, a client in this situation shall not be asked to consent if a “disinterested lawyer would conclude that the client should not agree to the representation under the circumstances and there has been a disclosure of all relevant facts to the client.”46 In addition, pursuant to Rule 1.10, a law firm may not be engaged to take a matter if a direct conflict exists between multiple clients of a law firm. Rule 1.10 imputes the conflict of one lawyer of a law firm to all of the lawyers of a law firm such that when one lawyer is representing a client who has a position which is adverse to a potential new client of the law firm or an existing client, the position of the law firm’s existing client is imputed to the entire law firm, so that no one in the law firm can provide representation for the potential client.47

Supporters of MDPs contend that even though it will be a challenge, the conflict of interest analysis in an MDP setting is arguably no more complex than the merger of two very large multinational law firms or the problems encountered by large domestic multi-office law firms in the United States. Additionally, the MDP debate is not the first time the issue of imputation of conflicts of interest has been raised. Large domestic and international law firms represent companies on multiple continents in which completely unrelated subsidiaries of common law firm clients constantly have imputation of conflict issues that are able to be resolved within the rules.48

Opponents of MDPs argue that if non-lawyers formally enter into the legal services market, they will lobby to relax the confidentiality rules so these non-lawyer controlled MDPs can represent even more clients.49 The Commission recognized that problems could arise as a result of the inconsistencies between the conflict of interest rules to which a lawyer must adhere versus the conflict of interest rules to which other professional service providers must adhere.50 The Commission recommended against the dilution of a lawyer’s obligation of loyalty to a client by stating that MDPs must be governed by the same rules of professional conduct as a law firm with regard to the imputation of conflicts and possible representation matters. “For the purposes of the conflict of interest analysis, the lawyer [in an MDP] must treat each and every client of the MDP as the lawyer’s clients.” With this language, the Commission fully imported the imputation of conflict of interest rule contained in Rule 1.10 to the MDP arena. In its 2000 MDP Report the Commission strengthened its recommended continued adherence to the imputation of the conflict of interest rule by stating that only the lawyers in an MDP should apply the conflict of interest rules to potential MDP clients seeking legal services.

Part IV – Conclusion

The issue of whether lawyers should be allowed to participate in MDPs is an excellent illustration of the potential strain which can develop between the business aspects of the practice of law and legal ethics. At the core of the debate as to whether lawyers should be allowed to participate in MDPs is what we want the American lawyer to be. Historically, due to their ability to utilize the legal system to affect change, American lawyers have been catalysts or instruments of great changes in this country. Lawyers and society must decide whether the legal profession should take on even more of a corporate flavor or retain its historical independence and unique role in our society. Maybe the reality of this question is not so dramatic in that it seems difficult to imagine the traditional law firm vanishing, especially in the area of litigation. There appears to be demand for MDPs by institutional clients; these clients want the ability to obtain financial and legal services from one institution. It seems in the context of an informed corporate America, MDPs may be acceptable provided that these clients understand the potential negatives of MDPs and consent to representation by an MDP.

Finally, there are many who say MDPs are already here, as evidenced by the globalization effect which has fostered the growth of MDPs in Europe, and the large number of lawyers employed by accounting firms in the United States who are performing more than just “consulting” functions for their clients. Proponents of MDPs state that the longer lawyers wait to officially condone MDPs, the more control lawyers will ultimately lose of the legal profession. However, lawyers should not embrace MDPs because they are forced. Rather, lawyers should take the time necessary to fully understand and digest the fundamental changes which have lead to the perceived need for MDPs, and then allow changes that protect society and allow lawyers to grow professionally.

Endnotes


1 ABA Comm. On Multidisciplinary Practice Report [hereinafter “1999 MDP Comm. Report”], Appendix A,
Terminology, 1999, at 1, at http://abanet.org/cpr/mdp.appendixa.html, last visited in May of 2002.
2 See John S. Dzienkowski & Robert J. Peroni, Multidisciplinary Practice and the American Legal Profession: A
Market Approach to Regulating the Delivery of Legal Services in the Twenty-First Century, 69 Fordham L. Rev.
83, 89 (2000).
3 See ABA Rules of Professional Conduct (hereinafter “Rules”), 5.4(a) which states in pertinent part: “A lawyer or
law firm shall not share legal fees with a non-lawyer.”; Accord Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct: 4(a);
Hereinafter the Rules cited are in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct, unless
specifically differentiated, and will be collectively cited as “Rule.”
4 Rule 5.4(b) which states, “A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer if any of the activities of the
partnership consists of the practice of law.”
5 See Rule 5.5.
6 Dzienkowski & Peroni, supra note 2, at 83; See also Charles W. Wolfmam, Modern Legal Ethics, 892-95 (1986).
7 But C.f.D.C. Rule 5.4 allows fee-sharing and partnership agreements between law firms and professional service
firms only if the entities are structure as law firms and are only providing legal services.
8 Dave Foster, Get off my Turf Attorneys Fight Accountants Over Whether To Allow Multidisciplinary Practice, 31
Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1353, 1355 (2000); See, e.g., MS Code § 73-3-55(1972). Any unauthorized practice of law is
punishable as a misdemeanor and the attorney shall be disbarred. MS Code § 73-3-59 (1972).
9 Thomas R. Andrews, Non-lawyers in the Business of Law: Does the One Who Has the Gold Really Make the
Rules, 40 Hastings Law Review L.J. 577,579 (1989).
10 In alphabetical order the Big Five Accounting Firms are Arthur Anderson L.L.P., DeLoitte Touche Tohmatsu,
Ernst & Young, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
11 See Elijah D. Farrell, Note, Accounting Firms and the Unauthorized Practice of Law: Who Is the Bar Really
Trying to Protect?, 33 Ind. L. Rev. 599, 600 (2000).
12 Tia Breakley, Multidisciplinary Practices: Lawyers & Accountants under One Roof, 2000 Colum. Bus. L. Rev.
275,275 (2000).
13 See, e.g., MS Code § 73-3-107 (1972) which states that the governing body of the Mississippi State Bar shall be
the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is vested with the power, subject to the approval of
the Mississippi Supreme Court, to formulate rules governing the conduct of all persons admitted to practice law
and cause to be investigated and pass on all complaints made concerning professional conduct of any person
admitted to the Bar. MS Code §§ 73-3-143 and 73-3-303 (1972).
14 See David M. Trubak et al. Global Restructuring and the law: Studies of the Internationalization of legal Fields
and the Creation of Transnational Arenas, 44 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 407,422 (1994).
15 Id. at 426.
16 Id.
17 Diane Molvig, Multidisciplinary Practices: Service Package of the Future?, Wis. Law., Apr. 1999, at 44.
18 See Katherine L. Harrison, Multidisciplinary Practices: Changing the Global View of the Legal Profession, 21 U.
Pa. J. Int’l Econ. L. 879, 904 (2000).
19 Id.; See also Tug of War, Int’l Acct. Bull., March 25, 1998, at 5.
20 See generally Dzienkowski & Peroni, supra note 2, at 118-28; See also Harrison, supra note 16, at 914-18.
21 Id. at 135-45.
22 See John Gibeaut, “It’s a Done Deal”: House of Delegates Vote Crushes Chances for MDP, 86 A.B.A.J. 92, 93
(2000). The resolution to allow the formation of MDPs was defeated by a vote of 314 to 106.
23 Id.
24 http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mdp_state_summ.html, last visited in May of 2002.
25 Id.
26 See also Harrison, supra note 18, at 911.
27 Id.; James W. Jones, Remarks at the Phyllis W. Beck Chair in Law Symposium at Temple University Beasley
School of Law, Nov. 12, 1900, at 12.
28 Report and Recommendation of the S.C. Bar Taskforce on Multidisciplinary Practice (2000), at 103.
29 Dzienkowski & Peroni, supra note 2, at 139.
30 James W. Jones, The Challenge of Change: The Practice of Law in the Year 2000, 41 Vand. L. Rev. 683, at 697.
31 See Molvig, supra note 17, at 44.
32 Gianluca Morello, Big Six Accounting Firms Shop Worldwide for Law Firms: Why Multidiscipline Practices
Should be Permitted in The United States, 21 Fordham Int’l L.J. 190, 245 (1997).
33 See Tug of War, supra note 19.
34 See Irwin L. Treiger & William J. Lipton, National Conference of Lawyers and CPA’s Statements to the ABA
Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice, 1999 TNT, 48-57 (Mar. 12, 1999).
35 See N.Y. State Bar Ass’n, Report of Special Committee on Multi-disciplinary Practice and the Legal Profession,
Part II (Jan. 8, 1999), http://www.nysba.org/whatsnew/multidiscrpt.html, last visited in May of 2002.
36 See James C. Moore, Multidisciplinary Practice Symposium Speeches: Lawyers and Accountants: Is the Delivery
of Legal Services Through the Multidisciplinary Practice in the Best Interests of Clients and the Public, 20 Pace
L. Rev. 33, 38 (1999).
37 Id.
38 See 1999 MDP Comm. Report, supra note 1, at 2 (Containing the proposed amendment to Rule 1.6 –
Confidentiality of Information).
39 Id.
40 See Rule 1.7.
41 Rule 2.1, C.f. A Lawyer may give a client not only legal advice, but also moral, economic, social and political
advice when relevant to the situation. See Rule 2.1.
42 See Comment to Rule 2.1.
43 See Treiger & Lipton, supra note 34, at 48-57.
44 Id.
45 Rule 1.7(a)
46 See Comment to Rule 1.7.
47 See Harrison, supra note 18, at 908; See also Gibeaut, Squeeze Play, supra note 26, at 46; Rule 1.10 states in part
that “while lawyers are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of
them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so.”
48 Id.
49 See generally Dzienkowski & Peroni, supra note 2, at 134.37.
50 1999 MDP Commission report, supra note 1, at 4, See also Recommended addition to Rule 1.10 – Imputed
Disqualification: General Rule: contained in the 1999 MDP Commission Report: “[4] With respect to an MDP,
imputed disqualification of a lawyer applies if the conflict in regard to the legal services the lawyer is providing is
with any client of the MDP, not just a client of a legal services division of the MDP or of an individual lawyer
member of the MDP.”

 

 

By |2002-06-01T20:23:11+00:00June 1st, 2002| Articles|

About the Author:

With over twenty-seven (27) years of experience in the business world, including nineteen (19) years in the practice of law, Keith C. Kantack brings a significant amount of experience and training to the practice of law. His practice areas include Corporate/Business Law, Tax Law, Mergers and Acquisitions, Estate Planning and Administration, Commercial Transactions, Selected Litigation, and Mediation and Arbitration. Keith is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance (BBA) (1986) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) (1987), and he is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law (1996), and the University of Florida School of Law where he obtained a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) (2001). He is licensed to practice law in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama, and is the Immediate Past Chair of the Estates and Trusts Section of the Mississippi Bar. Before returning to law school Keith was a Senior Bond Underwriter for a major insurance company in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama.