Vol. 75, No. 10, October
Debating MDP, UPL, and Ancillary Business Practices
Your Board of Governors needs your input as it debates issues
surrounding MDP, UPL, and Ancillary Business Practices - issues that
could significantly change the practice of law. Please, share your
opinion with your district governor.
At its Sept. 13-14, 2002 meeting, the Board of Governors
continued substantive debate on three separate issues addressed in the
report of the MDP Commission:
1) MDP - Whether to amend Wisconsin's Rules of
Professional Responsibility to allow Wisconsin lawyers to be partners
with and share legal fees with nonlawyer professionals, and if so, under
2) UPL - Whether to revise Wisconsin's statutes to
better define what constitutes the practice of law and the unauthorized
practice of law, and whether to create more effective enforcement
mechanisms for prosecuting the unauthorized practice of law; and
3) Ancillary Business Practices - Whether the Rules
of Professional Responsibility should clarify under what circumstances
lawyers and law firms may engage in nonlegal business practices that are
ancillary to the practice of law.
Additionally, if the Board approves any of the proposals, it will
consider whether to present the proposed changes to the Wisconsin
Supreme Court or to the Legislature.
Many State Bar members and some local bar associations have shared
their opinions on MDP with the MDP Commission and with officers of the
Bar, but few have expressed opinions on the other two subjects. Each of
these issues is extremely important to all members of the Bar and
deserves your attention. In November, the Board will vote on each issue
separately - not as a package. So the fact that you may have shared your
opinion on one of the subjects does not mean that your work is done.
The MDP Commission issued its Interim Report in May. Since that time,
there have been only minor, typographical changes to the report. If you
have already studied that report, you need not read the Final Report
when it is released late this month. But for those of you who have not
yet reviewed the report, or not yet considered all three issues, I urge
you to do so.
The MDP report contains not only proposals but also the thinking of
members who oppose the proposals, and the rationales both for and
against the changes. What led to the proposals and the pro and con
arguments are much too voluminous to cover in this column, but you can
access the entire report at wisbar.org/bar/mdp.
Please review it and share your opinions with your district governors.
You can contact any district governor individually, or email your
opinion to org mdpcommission wisbar wisbar mdpcommission org.
The State Bar also is offering local and specialty bars and
law-related groups an edited videotape of the Assembly of Members MDP
discussion held on May 16 at the Annual Convention. The tape captures
your colleagues' concerns about the complex issues surrounding MDP, UPL,
and ancillary business practices and may help you form your own
opinions. The tape runs about 2 hours 13 minutes and may be viewed in
more than one session. To reserve one of the 12 copies of the tape,
please contact the Bar at (800) 728-7788.
At its Nov. 8, 2002 meeting, the Board of Governors is expected to
continue the debate and vote on all three issues. Your governors
represent you and deserve your input. Give it to them.