Main Street Multidisciplinary Practice Firms: Laboratories for the Future
This Article examines the debate over multidisciplinary practice in the wake of the collapse of Enron and Arthur Andersen. Part I addresses the history of the scholarly debate about multidisciplinary practice in the United States. It discusses the focus on large multidisciplinary firms, feared threats to independent professional judgment, and the current rule concerning lawyers and multidisciplinary practice.
Part II examines the reasons for allowing multidisciplinary practice. The author argues that client demand, lawyer demand, and policy reasons all provide valid reasons for permitting “one-stop” shopping. Part I also discusses existing forms of multidisciplinary practice. The author argues that the methods used by those groups in dealing with ethical and professional considerations indicate that smallscale, or “Main Street” multidisciplinary firms can provide improved service to clients without endangering the legal profession.
In Part III, Professor Poser proposes a solution: permitting small-scale multidisciplinary practice, on a state-by-state basis. The author argues that permitting such firms would meet client demand for improved, integrated service, while also allowing state bar associations to determine if larger-scale multidisciplinary practice is feasible, based on the experience of smaller firms.