October 05, 2011

Written Response of Stuart P. Werling to the Commission's Report

As a solo lawyer, I strongly oppose the concept of MDPs insofar as they would include the practice of law or the ownership of law firms by non-lawyers. 

If a law firm is owned by a non-lawyer, whether it is a CPA firm or insurance conglomerate, there simply is no way to protect the independent judgment of that new lawyer hired by such a firm. That lawyer will know, that if he or she does not produce income for the company, regardless of the greater good (or harm) of the client, they will not be employed. Why on earth should we, as lawyers sign on to any such program that will clearly jeopardize the independence of such an attorney? Call me old fashioned, call me an anachronism, but I believe in the independence of lawyers and of our professionalism.

MDPs are being touted as the "one stop shop" solution. That is also the essence of their evil. We lawyers will be nothing more than a part of the "shop" and our ability to put the needs and interests of our clients first will be eliminated.

MDPs are also being encouraged as the waive of the future. After all, MDPs are all the rage in Europe. So is driving on the left side of the road.

Personally, I do not find the argument of MDPs as a trend to be convincing.  The US economy is certainly strong enough and viable enough that we can do one or two things differently than Europe and survive. If MDPs are out competing US lawyers and our concern then is simply an economic one, then we need to look at what will make us more competitive.

As for me, I am proud to be a lawyer and very proud of our rich heritage of independence and loyalty to our client. The American Bar produces most of the worlds very best lawyers. It ain't broke. Don't fix it.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and to my comments.

Stuart P. Werling