Wisconsin Lawyer: President's Message:

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Format: MM/DD/YYYY
    October
    01
    2002

    President's Message

    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.

    Pat Ballman

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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 75, No. 10, October 2002

    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.

    by Pat Ballman

    Patricia BallmanAt 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 what circumstances;

    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.




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