Multidisciplinary Practices Get Go-Ahead

The New York State Bar Association has given its blessing to the formation of multidisciplinary practices (MDPs), paving the way for sanctioned cooperative ventures between lawyers and other professionals.

New York is the first state in the nation to approve alliances between lawyers and other nonlegal professionals, such as accountants, engineers, brokers, real estate agents, and so on. The new rules, entitled "Cooperative Business Arrangements Between Lawyers and Nonlegal Professionals," provide direction and establish guidelines for lawyers entering into business with other professionals.

The rules will become effective November 1, 2001.

Big Five firm Ernst & Young, which already has a presence in the East with its independent legal affiliate in Washington DC, McKee Nelson Ernst & Young LLP, has plans to open a law office in New York this fall. The firm, which has ties to the New York firm Tite & Lewis, will operate under the name McKee Nelson. It is expected that Tite & Lewis will be the first accountancy-tied law firm in the country.