A Purely Satirical, Fictional Parallel Story

The major law firm of Vincent and Belkins of Houston, Texas has made an announcement that they believe will revolutionize the professional world.

Managing partner Biff Harrington III stated, “We’ve realized that many of our business and personal clients have issues that aren’t solely legal in nature.  We want to be an all-risks professional service organization.  As of May 1, 2017, we’re going to mandate that all new associates become certified public accountants within six months of being hired.  We’ll also be selecting certain current associates and partners to go back and get their accounting degrees in an attempt to become CPAs.”

Harrington continued to say, “We believe that making new associates become CPAs and attorneys will increase their value to their clients and the firm.  There’s a fair amount of overlap between law and accounting, especially in the tax and business arenas.  As such, we’ll make all of our new associates remain CPA/attorneys at least until they make partner — then, they can drop their CPA certification if they wish.”

An unnamed cynical associate reported to the local newspaper that the “all-risks professional service organization” moniker was a cynical attempt for the firm to remain relevant in a world where the need for legal services has diminished. “Between tort reform cutting down the number of so-called ‘frivolous’ lawsuits and the rise of the internet for routine legal forms, the attorneys have a lot less to do these days.  Making new associates become accountants and function as accountants for a few years is nothing but an attempt to maintain some relevance for a big law firm with a bunch of partners not doing a great deal of work.”

Legal ethics Professor Mortimer Winston had grave concerns as well.  “Yes, there are definitely some overlaps between law and accounting, but the two are completely different professions with different scopes, purviews, and even different ethical obligations.  Attorney-client privilege exists in all fifty states while there’s no legal duty for an accountant to maintain confidentiality.  When a client speaks to one of these junior associates, are they speaking to them as an attorney or as an accountant? Additionally, while there have been some tax attorneys who excel as both CPAs and attorneys, many people won’t excel as both attorneys and accountants, not to mention the issues with the degradation of both legal and accounting skills for people who don’t regularly utilize both.  This is a recipe for disaster.”

In reply to Winston’s concerns, Harrington stated, “Dual certification is the wave of the future. This has worked many times before.  Just look at the excellent medical care provided by firefighter-paramedics in the District of Columbia.  If it works in our nation’s capital, it can work here!”


  1. PJ Geraghty says:

    Clever. Although, for the record, DC EMS was a goat screw as a single-role agency as well.

  2. So what is the evidence that Fire based EMS systems provide worse patient outcomes as compared to EMS only or private ambulance companies?

    • The easiest way is to compare cardiac arrest survival to discharge statistics. The better the stats, the better the agency is likely to be. If an agency doesn’t report those numbers, chances are pretty good that their survival rates are pretty dismal.

      There are other numbers as well Response times are one, but not one I particularly trust.