As lawyers feverishly debate whether bar ethics rules should be changed to allow them to practice with other professionals, accountants are working hard to find ways to deliver so-called multidisciplinary services under current rules. Law firms are caught in between, trying to preserve their culture but awakening to the business realities that are driving the debate over multidisciplinary practices (MDPs).

Meanwhile, they are increasingly bleeding top tax talent to the Big Five. KPMG L.L.P.’s latest maneuverings illustrate the dilemma. The professional services giant recently asked a group of state and local tax lawyers across the country to dance–to form a strategic alliance that would provide incentives for both sides to work together.