Getting to know the ABA's Commission on Ethics 20/20

Why you should pay attention to this organization's work

I confess that since I moved in-house, I have had little to do with the American Bar Association (ABA). My perception has been that the ABA’s focus on in-house counsel has been wanting and perhaps abdicated to the Association of Corporate Counsel. There is, however, a powerful group within the ABA that influences your day-to-day practice, and it wants ands deserves your attention.

The group is the Commission on Ethics 20/20. It was created to perform a thorough review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments. The commission’s challenge is to study issues, obtain critical feedback from attorneys and, if necessary, propose changes to the Model Rules. The commission’s work is guided by three principals: protecting the public, preserving the legal professional’s core values, and maintaining a strong independent and self-regulated legal profession. The commission has published white papers on topics critical to in-house practice including: alternative business structures, multijurisdictional practice, choice of law in cross-border practice, client confidentiality and lawyers’ use of technology, admission by motion and alternative litigation financing.

Brian Martin

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