June 15, 2002 Regular News Committee ‘surprised’ by lack of interest in strategic alliance rule Committee ‘surprised’ by lack of interest in strategic alliance rule There’s no demand among Bar members to be in “strategic alliances” to offer legal and nonlegal services to potential clients, but lawyers still want strict enforcement of unlicensed practice of law rules to prevent multidisciplinary practices.Young Lawyers Division President Liz Rice, representing the MDP Ancillary Business Special Commission, told the Bar Board of Governors recently the commission was surprised by the lack of interest in its proposed strategic alliance rule.Strategic alliances are agreements between lawyers and other professionals for providing a broad range of services to clients. But unlike MDPs — which the Bar strongly opposes — there would be no sharing of legal fees or nonlawyer ownership in a law firm.Rice said the commission sent out its proposed rule to sections and committees, and met with representatives of the Business Law, Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law, and Tax sections.“There was no overwhelming support for this rule,” she told the board. “We thought this was the cure for all the folks who wanted MDPs, but surprisingly they are not in favor of the adoption of this rule. What they want this Bar to do is become vigilant in going after people for the unlicensed practice of law.”The commission also wants the Bar to do more to help members with ancillary businesses — nonlegal businesses or services owned by lawyers. The Supreme Court recently approved a Bar-sponsored ancillary business rule.“We suggest the Bar continue to focus and concentrate on providing ethical guidelines for ancillary businesses,” Rice said. “Lawyers want more seminars on how to create ancillary businesses, and develop other alternative business models.”The commission recommended more advice on ancillary businesses be published on the Bar’s Web site and in the Bar News, and that the Bar look at the effect of ancillary businesses and similar arrangements on consumers. Rice said the panel also wants to set a unified approach by the Bar in enforcing and explaining the ancillary business rules.