Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ABA Delegates Debating Key Legal Issues

The ABA House of Delegates, meeting in Dallas, beginning on February 6, has a number of proposals on its agenda. They concern human trafficking, foreign lawyers, and the unbundling of legal services:

The ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 is bringing four resolutions to the House of Delegates as a result of increased globalization and technological advancements. In order to keep up with those changes, the commission is recommending changes to the following ABA policies:

Resolution 107A would amend Rule 5.5(d) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law) to permit limited practice authority for foreign lawyers to serve as in-house counsel in the United States, but not advise on the law of a U.S. jurisdiction except in consultation with a U.S.-licensed lawyer. A complementing resolution, 107B, would provide a mechanism to implement the limited practice authority in Resolution 107A through amendments to the 2008 Model Rule for Registration of In-House Counsel. Resolution 107B contains additional restrictions on the foreign in-house lawyer’s scope of practice as well as added requirements including payment of bar dues, payment into the client protection fund, fulfillment of continuing legal education requirements and notification to disciplinary counsel.

Resolution 107C seeks to amend the Model Rule on Pro Hac Vice Admission to provide judges with guidance about whether to grant limited, temporary and supervised practice authority to foreign lawyers to appear in U.S. courts, consistent with the rules of the U.S. Supreme Court, numerous federal courts and at least 15 U.S. states. Finally, resolution 107D proposes adding language to Model Rule 8.5 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct concerning choice of law, to allow lawyers and clients to specify a particular jurisdiction’s conflict of interest rules for purposes of determining the “predominant effect” of a lawyer’s conduct.

You can read more here at “ABA Now.”

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