Attached hereto is the draft of a possible Recommendation to the ABA House of Delegates just released by the Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice. Though the Recommendation is relatively short, it contains many aspects that call for, and will receive, detailed amplification in the Report that will accompany the Recommendation. The Commission has outlined the Report but has not yet completed a draft that is ready for dissemination. The Report will provide support for the Recommendation, address the criticisms and comments directed toward the Commission's prior Recommendation and Report, and discuss other matters that are not of a tenor for inclusion in the Recommendation but that the Commission believes should be brought to the attention of the House, the state and local bar associations and other interested parties. We anticipate that the Report will be fairly lengthy and is unlikely to be completed in final form before April 15th. Though the Recommendation has been drafted without the guidance of the interested bar associations, the Commission realizes the importance of distributing it at this time. The National Caucus of State Bars requested that the Commission report back as soon as possible so that the bars might consider the Commission’s Recommendation at their spring meetings in anticipation of a possible vote on it at the July 2000 Annual Meeting. The Commission looks forward to your feedback.
Sherwin P. Simmons
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
COMMISSION ON MULTIDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE
REPORT TO THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct consistent with the following principles:
1. Lawyers should be permitted to share fees and join with nonlawyer professionals in a practice that delivers both legal and nonlegal professional services (Multidisciplinary Practice), provided that the lawyers have the control and authority necessary to assure lawyer independence in the rendering of legal services. "Nonlawyer professionals" means members of recognized professions or other disciplines that are governed by ethical standards.
2. This Recommendation must be implemented in a manner that protects the public and preserves the core values of the legal profession, including competence, independence of professional judgment, protection of confidential client information, loyalty to the client through the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and pro bono publico obligations.
3. To protect the public interest, regulatory authorities should enforce existing rules and adopt such additional enforcement procedures as are needed to implement the principles identified in this Recommendation.
4. This Recommendation does not alter the prohibition on nonlawyers delivering legal services and the obligations of all lawyers to observe the rules of professional conduct. Nor does it authorize passive investment in a Multidisciplinary Practice.