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Spring 2001 Newsletter

Legal Administrator Section Spring 2001 Newsletter

Mark Your Calendars—Annual Golf Outing
Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
9:15–10:15 a.m. Fitting in Fitness
11:00 a.m. 18 hole Golf Scramble
5:30 p.m. Food and Awards

Tom Anderson, a personal trainer with over 12 years of fitness experience, will present tips on how to make time for fitness. In the spirit of the outing, he will introduce us to several ways to avoid golf injuries through proper warm-ups, stretches and conditioning.

The Current State of Multidisciplinary Practices

On February 20, 2001, the Legal Administrator Section held a breakfast seminar entitled the Current State of Multidisciplinary Practices (MDP), with Dickinson Wright as our hosts. The seminar focused on current happenings in the MDP arena from the perspective of Steve Epstein, who is past chair of the MACPA Board of Directors.

Mr. Epstein feels that the primary driving factor for MDPs is the focus on meeting customer demand. From the viewpoint of the client, they are looking for the most cost effective and efficient way to meet their needs. An MDP meets their needs by having a more in depth understanding of the client needs, providing a quicker response time because of the availability of client information, saving costs for the client by the reduction of coordination time between firms and providing ease of access (i.e., one stop shop). The typical profile of an MDP client includes the following: has numerous transaction requirements, less frequent purchaser of legal services, involved in transactions where high coordination costs are expected, involved in cross border transactions and requires strong expertise in tax law.

An MDP is an organizational structure where attorneys and non-attorneys can work together. This can take various forms and does not necessarily mean the formation of a new entity. The least integrated form is a loose alliance and network of attorneys and non-attorneys. Partial integration is a more structured approach where activities are coordinated on a regular basis. This could include a common brand or shared office space. Full integration is participation in a single firm that is jointly owned and managed. The latter is not permitted by the ABA.

Mr. Epstein also gave a brief history on the development of the ABA’s perspective on MDPs and on the Big 5 accounting firm’s involvement in the MDP arena. In conclusion, Mr. Epstein said that MDPs have been here and are here to stay. The form and the extent of the structure is a work in progress. In the long term, attorneys and non-attorneys have the public confidence at stake in resolving the MDP parameters.

Tips and Tidbits

The following e-mail effectiveness hints were taken from the April 2001 issue of Communication Briefings.

The way you compose e-mail affects how readers respond. Use these guidelines:

  • Use the subject line to describe the action you want the reader to take. Examples: "review changes," "call this customer," "request info"
  • Label urgent messages in the subject line. Be selective; tag only the most time-sensitive, critical e-mails as high priority.
  • Restrict jokes and chain letters to those who tell you they want such messages.
  • Always call within a day of sending an urgent message to confirm the person received it.
  • Ignore advertisements. Never reply to junk e-mail, even to ask to be taken off a list. Spammers may use your reply to validate your e-mail address; they can then send you more unwanted mail or sell your e-mail address to others.

2000-2001 Section Officers and Council Members

Anita Monaco

John Gorzalski

Michelle Schriner

Corresponding Secretary
Kappa Mann

Council Members At Large
Kathy Batts
Bill Parsons
Jeanne Yee

Michael Starrs

State Bar of Michigan Commissioner Liason
Scott Brinkmeyer

State Bar of Michigan
Jeanne Yee



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