Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Statement of International Association of Defense Counsel

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Statement of International Association of Defense Counsel

Article excerpt

(Following is the statement of IADC Executive Committee member Richard P. Campbell, Boston, to the ABA Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice in August 1999.)

We applaud the commission for the diligence, intensity and timeliness of its work and to express IADC's interest in the subject of multidisciplinary practice. I am here, however, to make known our association's concern that all segments of the bar have adequate time to study the ramifications of proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct that would permit multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs) to operate across the broad array of diverse areas collectively called the practice of law.

At the present time, the IADC believes that adoption of the commission's proposed changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct is premature. The Model Rules are the source of most states ethical rules that apply to all lawyers, regardless of their areas of expertise, the location of their law offices, the size and complexity of their partnership (if indeed they have any partners), and the interest their clients may have in the globalization of largescale business. Similarly, the ethical rules govern the professional conduct of all lawyers, whether they are engaged to handle significant litigation for individuals or major institutional clients, or (more likely) never set foot in a courtroom.

The good and the bad

The IADC, comprised as it is of trial lawyers, recognizes that changes allowing the creation of multidisciplinary partnerships may well have beneficial effects for its members and the clients they serve. One of the obvious potential benefits to institutional clients defending generic litigation is the reduction in costs and fees to be realized from increased efficiencies in the delivery of legal services by a centrally located or controlled MDP. A consequent potential benefit to lawyers and their firms is enhanced profitability through the elimination of otherwise redundant overhead.

On the other hand, our association envisions the possibility of influences being brought to bear on the trial attorney by MDP partners with business interests adverse to the client represented in the action at bar, and that these influences may diminish trial attorneys' zealous advocacy and taint their independent judgment. The IADC's Tenets of Professionalism instruct us otherwise: "We will not permit business concerns to undermine or corrupt our professional obligations". …

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