Can Lawyers and Accountants Be Partners? We'll Have To Wait To See...
The decision to undo a longstanding ban on lawyers forming partnerships with other professionals -- such as accountants -- has been delayed for further debate. The issue was raised at this week's annual meeting in Atlanta of the American Bar Association, America's largest lawyers group, where many members want to drop the ban amid growing competition from large multi national professional service firms.
Demands from consumer groups are growing to be able to get legal, financial, accounting, and consulting assisance from a single source. Currently, thousands of lawyers are already working for non-law professional services firms, and the lines are blurring more and more each day.
Currently, multinational service firms such as the Big 5 accounting firms already practice law in countries outside the United States. The ABA recognizes the changing environment, but declined to change the rules at this point in time.
The American Institute of CPAs favors dropping the ban, indicating that the market wants a broad range of services delivered by a single provider.