Solicitors open door to MDPs

Solicitors have overwhelmingly backed lifting the ban on multi-disciplinary practices, though partners of law and accountancy firms are unlikely to be able to share income until the end of next year at the earliest.

Despite misgivings from several City law firms about the need for legal services to be offered through accountancy firms, two-thirds of respondents urged the Law Society to relax its rules. A working party is set to produce a blueprint structure by the autumn.

Big Five firms and their associated law firms welcomed the decision as demonstrating an understanding of the commercial realities of client demands.

KPMG head of audit Ted Awty said: ‘This will be something that enables us to deliver more value. There are very few engagements these days that can be delivered by one pure discipline.’

Others expressed disappointment that changes are likely to take at least until the end of next year to win Law Society council approval and find the necessary parliamentary time needed to pass legislation to make MDPs legal.

The society will have to tread carefully, given what it called a ‘disappointingly low’ number of responses. The society received just 272 responses. It has 75,000 members.

Head of professional ethics Alison Crawley said the results would be taken forward by the working party on 21 July.

‘We will have to do some sort of consultation once we have got firmer proposals. I think the Law Society’s decision process will be finished some time next year,’ she said.

Leader, page 16.

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