Sunday, May 15, 2011

Multidisciplinary Practices the Only Way to Go

I just made the following post yesterday to an American Bar Association message board about a DC firm implementing a sort of multidisciplinary practice.  I believe this is particularly relevant for those practicing information security law given its interdisciplinary nature.

The current law firm model is an anachronism.  Nearly all other professions have embraced the needs of their customers/clients who want quality services at reasonable prices.  The law profession, particularly Big Law, has used legal and social barriers to drive up costs for their clients.  The hiring process is skewed so in favor of pedigree (what other profession cares about class rank 20 years after someone has been practicing) that the labor pool for Big Law is artificially constrained and salaries and billing rates are inevitably driven up as a result.  Lawyers, knowing the law better than anyone, have managed to maintain rules barring MDP under the guise of ethics even though nearly ever other profession uses MDPs and are frequently viewed as being more ethical than lawyers.  Let’s rid ourselves of notions that lawyers who report to non-lawyers can’t be ethical.  General counsel and many government lawyers do it everyday.  Law firms do it when they say no to an important client who makes up the majority of their revenue.

We need to stop pretending that we’re so different in order to justify the competitive restraints we’ve imposed on our clients.  The law profession in the United States is one huge anti-trust violation.  For the sake of our clients, who are frequently left making substandard decisions based on limited or no representation, we need to adopt MDP and move into the 21st century like everyone else.


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