Dalhousie Law Journal


multi-disciplinary professional practices, MDPs, lawyers, accountants, controversy, Canada, consumer welfare, solicitor-client privilege, independence, conflicts of interests


Multi-disciplinary professional practices (MDPs) involving lawyers, accountants and otherprofessionals, have been the subject of considerable industrystudyand controversy in Canada and abroad. In this article, the authors evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of MDPs strictly from a consumer welfare perspective. They argue that, although MDP critics' concerns surrounding such issues as solicitor-client privilege, independence, conflicts of interest, and unauthorized practice are valid, they are often overstated and are, in many cases, encountered even today by professionals outside the MDP context. The advantages to consumers of permitting the evolution of such practices would, in any event, significantly outweigh such disadvantages. The authors'analysis provides the background for their specific proposals to facilitate the creation and proliferation of fully-integrated MDPs and an appropriate regulatory framework for such firms emphasizing inter-professional cooperation rather than competition and including inter-professional coordination committees with consumer representation.