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Five Years Later: Reconsidering the Original ABA Report on MDP

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Abstract

Reconsidering the original report issued in 1999 by the ABA Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice, this essay suggests that that report properly attempted to deal with questions of legal ethics that might arise if the practice of law by lawyers were integrated into an enterprise in which nonlawyers had a significant degree of ultimate control, but that the commission, perhaps because of undue time pressure, neglected to pursue these questions deeply enough. This essay suggests that more was needed than a proposed mechanism for self-certification of compliance with rules of legal ethics, coupled with possible review of compliance. The “more” that was needed, this essay further suggests, was a proposal for the licensing of an enterprise in which lawyers do not have exclusive ultimate control, as a precondition to permitting lawyers in the enterprise to offer legal services to the general public. Thus, before it could offer legal services to the general public, such an enterprise would need to comply with requirements for obtaining a license, and noncompliance with rules of legal ethics could bring into play traditional disciplinary measures including, where appropriate, suspension or revocation of the license.

Type
“From the Trenches and Towers”: MDPs After Enron/Andersen
Copyright
Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 2004 

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References

American Bar Association. Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice. 1999. Background Papers on MDP Issues and Developments. Available at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/multicomreportO199.html.Google Scholar
American Bar Association. 1999. Report to the House of Delegates. Available at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mdreport.html.Google Scholar
American Bar Association. 2000. Transcript of House of Delegates Annual Meeting (7/11/00). Available at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mdp_hod_trans.html.Google Scholar
Cone, Sydney M III 2001. Views on Multidisciplinary Practice. Wake Forest Law Review 36 (Spring): 1.Google Scholar
Conley, Janet 1999. ABA Postpones Its Decision on Multidisciplinary Practice. New York Law Journal, 11 August, p. 1, col. 1.Google Scholar
Dzienkowski, John S., ed. 20032004. Professional Responsibility Standards, Rules and Statutes. St. Paul: West Publishing.Google Scholar
Fischel, Daniel R. 2000. Multidisciplinary Practice. Business Law 55:951.Google Scholar
Garten, Jeffrey E. 1999. Economic Viewpoint. Business Week, 30 August, 26.Google Scholar
Nelson, Steven C. 1999. Lead article. International Law News. Summer.Google Scholar
New York State Bar Association. Special Committee on the Law Governing Firm Structure and Operation. 2000. Preserving the Core Values of the American Legal Profession-the Place of Multidisciplinary Practice in the Law Governing Lawyers. Albany: New York State Bar Association.Google Scholar
Oberly, Kathryn A. 1999. Oral remarks (4 February). Available at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/oberly2.html.Google Scholar
Securities and Exchange Commission. 2002. Strengthening the Commission's Requirements Regarding Auditor Independence. 17 C.F.R. pts. 210, 240, 249, 275, 2 December.Google Scholar
Wolfman, Bernard 1999. Oral testimony (12 March). Available at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/wolfman2.html.Google Scholar

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Five Years Later: Reconsidering the Original ABA Report on MDP
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Five Years Later: Reconsidering the Original ABA Report on MDP
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