The New York State Bar is offering something new: a nuanced position in the emotional debate over multidisciplinary practice (MDP). A special report opposes nonlawyer control over the practice of law — but acknowledges interdisciplinary cooperation and suggests ways to make it more pro-client.

The report sanctions non-exclusive referral relationships between law firms and non-law firms. It also sanctions ancillary nonlegal services controlled by lawyers. Stating that such arrangements are widespread and usually ethical, it recommends a new rule to permit advertising them. But any degree of nonlawyer influence over lawyers is a no-no. As the report not-too-subtly hints, that would seem to cover the employment of thousands of lawyers by the Big Five accounting firms.