Penn Bar opposes MDP plans

The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) has formally opposed the American Bar Association's (ABA) recommendation to allow multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs).

The PBA's board of governors voted unanimously against the proposal, just days before the ABA's annual meeting got underway in Atlanta, Georgia, last week.

The ABA is expected to vote on MDPs this week. Opponents want the vote postponed until September.

One of the PBA's main concerns is the deadline being imposed by the ABA. The PBA is taking a stronger line than that of the New York City (NYC) Bar Association which passed a ruling in July rejecting lawyer-auditor partnerships but welcoming others. (The Lawyer 26 July).

If this objection is built into guidelines on MDPs, it will scupper the big five accountant fir' hopes of combining with law firms to provide a one-stop service.

Pennsylvania is home to Morgan Lewis & Bockius. With nearly 1,000 lawyers worldwide and a gross revenue in 1998 of $397m, it is ranked number 11 in the league table of US firms.

Other Pennsylvania-based firms include Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, which has more than 400 lawyers and is noted for its health practice, and Dechert Price & Rhoads which is in partnership with UK firm Titmuss Sainer Dechert.