New York City Bar cautiously welcomes MDP profit scheme

The New York City Bar has given its qualified support formultidisciplinary partnerships

(MDPs).The Bar's decision follows an American Bar Association (ABA)

commission'srecommendation that lawyers should be allowed to share their profits

withother professionals in MDPs.The executive committee says the “core values” of

lawyers should prevailin an MDP. Its strongest objection is to MDPs providing both audit

andlegal services.This is because there is an “irreconcilable difference” between

lawyers'duty of confidentiality and the public disclosure obligations ofaccountants. If

this objection is built into guidelines on MDPs, it willscupper the big five

accountants' hopes of combining with law firms toprovide a one-stop service.The ABA

commission on MDPs wants to push a vote through its house ofdelegates as early as

August, but the New York Bar wants to debate theissue then and vote in September.Opinion

within New York is divided, with the New York County LawyersAssociation roughly sharing

the city Bar's view and the New York State BarAssociation completely against the idea.