Ernst & Young opens Washington office

Big Five accountants Ernst & Young has established an associate Washington DC law firm by luring two tax partners from Atlanta's King & Spalding. The new firm – McKee Nelson Ernst & Young – is backed by a loan from Ernst & Young and will be housed in the accountants' Washington DC offices. The American Bar Association (ABA) prohibits law firms from sharing fees, and the new firm will not be owned by Ernst & Young. But the arrangement will allow Ernst & Young to offer legal and other professional services to clients.

McKee says the firm will have about 20 lawyers by the end of this year, increasing to 50 the end of 2000.

In August the ABA indefinitely postponed a divisive vote on whether to permit multidisciplinary practices, in which lawyers could share fees with other professions.