You Be the Judge - Page 3

Objection Sustained Those are very controversial positions. It smacks of building multi-disciplinary practices (MDP) to compete more effectively with Big Five accounting firms and consulting firms. Others think that lawyers should stick to doing what they do best: practicing law.

Accounting firms that have consulting branches, however, dont have the type of professional restrictions that make MDPs troublesome to the legal community.

Indeed, accounting firm lawyers may soon be allowed to practice law in the U.S. If that day comes, accounting firms, with their far-greater resources, will compete head-on with traditional legal firms. Thats no small matter. In Europe, where accounting firms are allowed to practice law, Arthur Andersen is the continents biggest "law" firm.

Naturally, some law firms want to turn the tables and are rushing into the technology-services market.

Still, not all practices will flock in that direction. "I think it is fair to say that many firms are feeling the need to get technologically savvy," says Aresty. "Yet, we still see more lip service given to the idea as opposed to delivering the monetary resources [read: partners profits] in order to implement an intelligent and strategic technology plan."