Monday, November 30, 2009

ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 – Comments Due Dec 31, 2009

The ABA’s Commission on Ethics was created to review and recommend updates to Model Rules and regulations affecting lawyers in response to changes in the nature of the practice of law, new technology, etc. Its charter is to “…study these issues and, with 20/20 vision, propose policy recommendations that will allow lawyers to better serve their clients, the courts and the public now and well into the future.”

In November, the Commission issued an outline of preliminary issues [PDF] under consideration and invited public feedback and comment. These risk, ethics and regulatory issues include:
  • Regulations Governing Admission to Practice (both domestically and internationally)
  • Outsourcing
  • Conflicts (including evaluating the feasibility of defining different conflicts rules and standards for “more sophisticated” clients vs. “less sophisticated” ones; law firm lateral hiring)
  • Confidentiality (addressing contradictions between domestic law firm confidentiality management obligations and international laws affecting firms with global practices; reviewing duties to employ data security / ethical walls software and other protective measures)
  • Alternative business / ownership structures
  • Approaches to law firm / lawyer regulation
Comments are due by December 31, 2009 and will be reviewed by the Commission at its February 2010 meeting in Florida.

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