Relations with the Bar after the Agran Case
BY JOHN W. QUEENAN Partner, Executive Office
Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New Orleans — October 1957
The past year has seen a further cementing of the relations of CPAs and lawyers and considerable progress toward showing the respect of each for the competence of the other profession. This time a year ago, committees of the Institute and of the Bar were formulating a joint state-ment to serve as a basis for developing cooperative machinery and re-activating the National Conference of Lawyers and Certified Public Accountants.
You will recall that the National Conference was formed in 1944 to develop a basis for settling differences between the two professions by friendly negotiation rather than by litigation or legislation. The Bercu and Conway cases were heard in the courts during the time that the basis was being sought; the irritation provoked by these cases slowed the negotiations. In 1951, however, both the Institute and the American Bar- Association approved a Statement of Principles stressing the impor-tance of voluntary cooperation between the members of the two professions in tax practice. As you know, the Statement recognized that lawyers and CPAs were members of professions whose services are necessarily sought by business. It recognized that legal implications and accounting aspects of business problems are separate, but often so interrelated that they are difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish. The Statement recognized the rights both of lawyers and of CPAs to prepare federal income tax returns, to practice before the Treasury Department, and to render advice in federal income tax matters. It stressed the common responsibility of the members of the two professions to recommend to their clients that the services of a member of the other profession be engaged when the circumstances
clearly and reasonably call for knowledge and competence characteristic
of the other profession. I stress this because these concepts under-gird the structure for cooperation that presently is being formed.
THE AGRAN DECISION From 1951 until 1954, when the Agran case was first decided in a