Originally part of a program on multidisciplinary practice at the 1998 ABA Conference on Professional Responsibility.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Competition between lawyers and accountants is not a new concept. At various times during the past century, these two professions have clashed over the scope and definition of their respective services. Lawyers traditionally have relied upon a professional monopoly to provide “legal” services as a device to exclude nonlawyers from the practice of law. Supported by statutes in many jurisdictions making the unauthorized practice of law a criminal offense and ethics rules prohibiting lawyers from assisting in the unauthorized practice of law, lawyers have always been able to identify some inner sanctum of professional services that only they could handle. Because of jurisdictional differences in both substantive and procedural law, state-by-state licensing of lawyers created a somewhat balkanized practice milieu, notwithstanding the fact that many areas of practice were based on federal, rather than state, law.