MDPs Come to BC

♫ Dance Dance wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance said he
And I lead you all wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance said he…♫

Lyrics by: Sydney Carter, music by: Elder Joseph Brackett, “Lord of the Dance“.

Effective July 1, 2010 Multi-Disciplinary Partnerships (“MDP’s”) are allowed by the Law Society of British Columbia. Law Society Rules 2-23.1 and following govern the establishments of MDP’s in the Province of BC.

This is a big change for law firms in BC. For one 2-23.1 (1) states:

“member of an MDP” means a lawyer or non-lawyer who holds an ownership interest in the MDP.

Granting non-lawyers partial ownership interest in a law firm is a major development for BC (albeit it not as far reaching as the Legal Services Act in the UK – see: In London, a New Law Firm Model Arises).

An application must be completed by the proposed MDP and it must meet all the conditions in Rule 2-23.2 and the lawyer:

has made arrangements that will enable the lawyer and the MDP to comply with Rules 2-23.1 to 2-23.12.

Of course the purpose of the MDP is to provide legal services:

no non-lawyer member of the MDP provides services to the public, except..those services that support or supplement the practice of law by the MDP, and under the supervision of a practising lawyer (Rule 2-23.3 (2) (a))

BC joins Ontario in terms of the ability to practice in a multi-disciplinary partnership. Of course all members of the MDP have to agree in writing (Rule 2-23.2 (1) (d) (i)):

that practising lawyers who are members of the MDP will have actual control over the delivery of legal services by the MDP

In this way, the practising lawyers remain the Lord of the Dance of the MDP.

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