MDP RECOMMENDATION - Center for Professional Responsibility

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

Illinois State Bar Association
New Jersey State Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
The Florida Bar
Ohio State Bar Association
Bar Association of Erie County
Cuyahoga County Bar Association

RECOMMENDATION

RESOLVED, that each jurisdiction is urged to revise its law governing lawyers to implement the following principles and preserve the core values of the legal profession:

1.  It is in the public interest to preserve the core values of the legal profession, among which are:

a.  the lawyer's duty of undivided loyalty to the client;

b.  the lawyer's duty competently to exercise independent legal judgment for the benefit of the client;

c.  the lawyer's duty to hold client confidences inviolate;

d.  the lawyer's duty to avoid conflicts of interest with the client; and

e.  the lawyer's duty to help maintain a single profession of law with responsibilities as a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.

f.  The lawyer's duty to promote access to justice.

2.  All lawyers are members of one profession subject in each jurisdiction to the law governing lawyers.

3.  The law governing lawyers was developed to protect the public interest and to preserve the core values of the legal profession, that are essential to the proper functioning of the American justice system.

4.  State bar associations and other entities charged with attorney discipline should reaffirm their commitment to enforcing vigorously their respective law governing lawyers.

5.  Each jurisdiction should reevaluate and refine to the extent necessary the definition of the "practice of law."

6.  Jurisdictions should retain and enforce laws that generally bar the practice of law by entities other than law firms.

7.  The sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers and the ownership and control of the practice of law by nonlawyers are inconsistent with the core values of the legal profession.

8.  The law governing lawyers, that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with nonlawyers and from directly or indirectly transferring to nonlawyers ownership or control over entities practicing law, should not be revised.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association shall, in consultation with state, local and territorial bar associations and interested ABA sections, divisions, and committees undertake a review of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC") and shall recommend to the House of Delegates such amendments to the MRPC as are necessary to assure that there are safeguards in the MRPC relating to strategic alliances and other contractual relationships with nonlegal professional service providers consistent with the statement of principles in this Recommendation.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Bar Association recommends that in jurisdictions that permit lawyers and law firms to own and operate nonlegal businesses, no nonlawyer or nonlegal entity involved in the provision of such services should own or control the practice of law by a lawyer or law firm or otherwise be permitted to direct or regulate the professional judgment of the lawyer or law firm in rendering legal services to any person.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice be discharged with the Association's gratitude for the Commission's hard work and with commendation for its substantial contributions to the profession.

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