Ellis/Hart Associates, Inc.
Government Relations · Public Affairs
February 22, 1999
Mr. Arthur Garwin
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility
541 N. Fairbanks, 14th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Dear Mr. Garwin:
I support the idea of multidisciplinary practice. In those circumstances where my company requires outside assistance, having the option to use an organization that could provide legal and other services would be immensely beneficial.
Specifically, we would save a great deal of time that is typically used to identify and interview lawyers, accountants, and so on. It would be a nice option to know that I could go to my accounting firm, which I trust, and benefit from attorneys on their staff for my legal needs. Peace of mind, in this example, would be every bit as valuable as the time and money saved.
If the ABA does eventually allow multidisciplinary practices, I would only request that attorneys who work outside regular law firms still be regulated by the Bar. Under today's Bar rules, attorneys have ethical rules and requirements, particularly in regard to confidentiality. These rules, and the consequences if they are breached, should remain in effect for attorneys within a multidisciplinary practice.
Business owners are demanding more and more from their professional service firms. For the ABA not to recognize this and continue to prohibit lawyers from practicing law outside law firms has the adverse effect of stifling competition and limiting freedom of choice in the market. I urge ABA to take steps to meet the demands of modern business and allow for MDPs.
Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing your commission's recommendation to the Bar.