October 05, 2011

Written Response of Theodore J. DelGaizo, PE, Esq. to the Commission's Report - Center for Professional Responsibility

Written Response of Theodore J. DelGaizo, PE, Esq.

to the Commission's Report


I was a Registered Professional Engineer before I went to law school in 1979. For nearly 20 years, I have been prevented from combining my two careers by Rule 5.4. When I write a construction specification for a client, what is the rational basis for a rule that prevents me from providing legal terms (indemnity, warranty, etc.) along with the technical?  Who knows construction better than an attorney who is also a professional engineer? Under today's rule, I can do both as a member of a law firm and cannot as a member of an engineering firm. The issue is framed as a question of ethics. If you took a public poll on which group is more ethical, engineers or lawyers, which group do you think would win?  I recently attended the PBI seminar in Philadelphia on MDP. From that seminar, it is clear that the battle is between the Big-5 accounting firms and the large law firms that stand to either lose business or end up being acquired. I see the opponents to change being involved in simple economic protectionism. Further, I think it is misguided protectionism. I think a rule change will create opportunities for lawyers. Lawyers would begin providing legal services to clients that may be otherwise provided (illegally) by non-lawyers.  The Pennsylvania Bar Association (of which I am a member) argues that the rule should not be changed without evidence that problems (conflicts, independence, etc,) will not occur. I think it is the other way around.  Defenders of the status quo should be required to provide the rational basis for the current rule, other than some arcane notion of tradition. 


Theodore J. DelGaizo, PE, Esq.