“Sen. Johnson’s dedication to our system of justice is a paradigm for members of Congress,” said ABA President Laurel Bellows.
IOLTA programs pool interest from lawyer trust accounts to provide funding for legal aid to the poor and judicial system improvements. Although IOLTA funds were previously covered by the FDIC, language in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act excluded IOLTA programs from full coverage. From 2011 to 2012, IOLTA funds were again fully insured by the FDIC, thanks to the Johnson-sponsored legislation.
In addition, Johnson worked through the lame duck session of the 112th Congress to win passage of a bill clarifying that the CFPB, like the other federal banking regulators, can receive attorney-client privileged information from banks and other supervised entities and then share that information with other federal agencies without waiving the privilege with respect to third parties. The new law protects the privilege in the bank examination process and creates a single standard for the treatment of privileged information submitted to all federal banking agencies, including the CFPB.
“I thank the ABA for this recognition and for all the hard work they do advocating for improvements to the legal system,” Johnson said. “I’m glad we were able to protect the IOLTA funds that help provide legal aid for the poor, and clear up uncertainty to ensure the CFPB can get the information it needs to supervise the financial marketplace and protect consumers. These were simple commonsense measures, so I am glad we were able to find a way to finally pass them with bipartisan support.”
Johnson will receive one of six ABA Congressional Justice Awards that will be given as part of the association’s annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession. ABA Day 2013 brings distinguished lawyers from 50 states to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as funding for Legal Services Corporation and federal judicial vacancies.
Other recipients of the 2013 ABA Congressional Justice Award include Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntaryprofessional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.