French govt gives MDPs green light

The long-awaited report from the French Government on multidisciplinary practices (MDPs) is believed to have given the concept the green light only weeks after it was vetoed by the French bar.

French newsletter Juristes Associes claims to have seen an advance copy of the Nallet Report, which will not be officially released until a few weeks from now.

According to Juristes Associes, the government report suggests that MDPs are to be welcomed as long as their internal rules become more transparent, and it has proposed setting up a joint regulatory committee to cover accountants and lawyers within MDPs.

It comments that the issue is being faced by every country and that MDPs are not “war machines directed to destroy lawyers”, but in fact provide work for lawyers.

The real threat to French law firms, the report continues, comes from their Anglo-Saxon competitors. The greater experience of UK lawyers in highly specialised and profitable areas of law, along with their quicker promotion structure and higher salaries are more attractive to young lawyers, it says.

In addition, the report hints that the time might now have come to give in-house lawyers the title of “avocat” and integrate them into the profession, which would mean the disappearance of the last division within the French legal profession.

Meanwhile, the response of the UK profession to a Law Society survey on MDPs was apathetic, with only 276 responses being collected from more than 10,000 questionnaires sent to members.

Despite this, a spokesman for the Law Society MDP working party, which met for the first time last week, says: “We are still pushing ahead with putting together proposals. Our suggestions will be submitted in the autumn.”