CPAs' perceptions of the emerging multidisciplinary accounting/legal practice

Kimberly E. Frank, Randall K. Hanson, D. Jordan Lowe, James K. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper reports the results of a survey of 219 American Institute of Certified Public Accountant members about legal services their public accounting firms currently offer and plan to offer in the future, and how they would organize their firm to deliver these services to clients. The survey is motivated by the legal profession's current investigation of whether to allow nonattorneys to share fees and become partners with nonattorneys and by the American Bar Association's call for evidence on the current existence of multidisciplinary practice (MDP). Forty-four states established MDP committees to recommend whether legal ethics rules should be relaxed to allow MDP. Relaxed ethics rules allow public accounting firms to employ attorneys to offer a full array of legal services to their clients. We find that public accounting firms already offer a number of legal services to their clients and are interested in increasing the offering of these services if allowed. The results also indicate that the size of the public accounting firm is likely to influence the types of legal services offered and the arrangements used to deliver the legal services to clients. The findings are important because they highlight the need for the legal and accounting professions to formulate rules regarding MDP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalAccounting Horizons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting


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