Law Society to consult with profession on multidisciplinary practice

B.C. lawyers will soon have opportunity to comment on the future of multidisciplinary practice and on draft rules prepared by the Multidisciplinary Task Force. The Law Society will undertake this consultation over the next few months, under the direction of the Executive Committee and the Task Force.

It was over a year ago that the Benchers began looking at relaxing the restrictions on fee-splitting so that lawyers could practise with non-lawyers - provided a regulatory scheme could properly protect the core values of the legal profession.

Last March the Benchers gave the MDP Task Force direction that the Law Society should regulate firms engaging in multidisciplinary practice through rules that control the lawyer members and not through a separate licensing scheme. As well, lawyers in MDPs should not be restricted to practising only with other professionals, or offering only legal services or services connected with the practice of law, and ownership of the MDP need not be controlled by lawyers.

Last year the Benchers adopted more refined principles that specifically address client confidentiality, privilege, conflicts checking and the professional independence of lawyers in a multidisciplinary practice setting: see the March-April, 2000 and August-September, 2000 Benchers' Bulletin.

In February this year the Benchers determined that draft rules prepared by the MDP Task Force should be circulated to the profession for information and comment.