During the last decade, the "Big Six" accounting firms entered into the legal services market overseas by establishing, acquiring, or forming ties with law firms around the world. These entities or business relationships have been called "multidisciplinary practices" or MDPs. Unlike the United States, many European countries do not prohibit partnerships and fee splitting arrangements between lawyers and nonlawyers. The February 1998 issue of the American Bar Association Journal published an article entitled "Squeeze Play" describing a turf war between the major accounting firms and lawyers practicing law in Europe. KPMG Peat Marwick, Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse, and Coopers & Lybrand and other accounting firms now offer a bundle of services such as appraisals, litigation support, alternative dispute resolution, estate planning, business planning and "international tax practice." These services are often rendered by attorneys who are employees of the nonlawyer accounting firm and many argue that such activity is the "unauthorized practice of law" (UPL).
James M. McCauley,
The Delivery of Legal Services through Multidisciplinary Practices,
Rich. J.L. & Pub. Int.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolpi/vol4/iss2/4