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84 Minn. L. Rev. 1529 (1999-2000)
Multidisciplinary Practices: Prohibit or Regulate

handle is hein.journals/mnlr84 and id is 1539 raw text is: Multidisciplinary Practices:
Prohibit or Regulate?
Robert A. Steint
The formation of a multidisciplinary practice, or MDP, is a
phenomenon that has arrived with great suddenness. At a re-
cent program on the subject, fewer than 10% of the attorneys in
attendance had heard of MDPs more than a year ago.' The po-
sition to be taken by the organized bar towards MDPs is one of
the most important issues facing the legal profession in the
United States and throughout the world. Whatever position
the bar takes on MDPs, it will have an impact on the practice of
law for many years to come. It is sure to influence not only how
we practice law, but also how we define ourselves as lawyers
and how the public perceives us.
This is an issue whose effect is not limited to only one seg-
ment of the bar. It is not a large firm issue or a small firm is-
sue or a specialty issue. The decision to prohibit or regulate
MDPs will affect virtually all practicing lawyers, no matter
what their practice situation. In addition, the resolution of the
MDP issue involves many of the fundamental core values of the
legal profession that are not re-examined on a regular basis.
Perhaps the best place to begin is to identify what are
MDPs. In its simplest form, an MDP is a lawyer or lawyers
having nonlawyer partners in a firm or other professional en-
tity that provides legal and nonlegal services. The firm may be
controlled by lawyers or nonlawyers. Furthermore, an MDP
t Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, American Bar Asso-
ciation (ABA). I wish to thank Macarena Tamayo Calabrese for her out-
standing assistance in the preparation of this Article. The Article is an adap-
tation of an address by the author at the University of Minnesota Law School
Homecoming CLE Seminar, October 30, 1999. The views expressed in this Ar-
ticle are those of the author and do not express ABA policy unless so indicated.
1. Informal poll of attorneys in attendance at the University of Minne-
sota Law School Homecoming CLE Seminar, in Minneapolis, MN (Oct. 30,


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