Inside Business Law

Focus on Professional Responsibility

The mission of the Professional Responsibility Committee is to improve the law and inform section members with respect to issues of legal ethics, professional responsibility, professional conduct, and the law governing lawyers. As a reminder, the committee has expertise in model rules of professional conduct, formal opinions of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, issues of ethics and professional responsibility law that affect lawyers whose practice (whether transactional, counseling, or dispute resolution) involves business law or the governmental regulation of business, the interface between general rules of ethics and professional responsibility and specialized rules of ethics and professional responsibility promulgated by statute or administrative regulation, and issues of multinational ethics and professional responsibility encountered in the transnational practice of law, including issues affecting multinational law firms and law departments.

This month's quarterly newsletter is published right in time for the ABA's Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., held from April 4 to 6. The committee newsletter provides useful information on the use of social media in law, new case law developments in certain states, and an update on subcommittees.

Nonprofit Organizations Committee

The Nonprofit Organizations Committee provides a resource for nonprofit lawyers on issues affecting nonprofit organizations in a rapidly changing legal and regulatory environment and monitors and updates the Model Nonprofit Corporation Act. For recorded webinars and the Spring Meeting schedule, visit their main committee page.

The Nonprofit Organizations Committee Chair, Michael E. Malamut, provides an overview of the upcoming programs at the Spring Meeting in the first quarter newsletter. The committee is a main sponsor of "Setting up a Social Entrepreneurship Organization," a panel discussing the different legal structures for a social entrepreneurial organization. It has participated in the preparing the following CLE programs for the Spring Meeting:

  • "Lawyer's Obligations Servicing on Boards of Nonprofits."
  • "Health Care M&A Legal and Financing Issues: 2012 and Beyond."
  • "Showcasing Diamonds: An Interactive Discussion with Glass Cutters."

The newsletter, packed with useful information, provides a summary of law review articles relating to nonprofit organizations, national updates, and state updates. Some of the featured articles include:

  • Christyne J. Vachon's article "Scratch My Back, and I'll Scratch Yours: Scratching the Surface of the Duty of Care in Cross Sector Collaborations - Are For-Profits Obligated to Ensure the Sustainability of their Partner Nonprofits?" in the Hastings Business Law Journal, Winter 2012, addressing cross-sector collaborations between nonprofit and for-profit institutions.
  • Kavita Gupta's article in the California Bankruptcy Journal 2012, "Representing a Nonprofit Debtor in Bankruptcy" which provides useful information for practitioners on the bankruptcy process for nonprofit organizations.
  • Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer's article, "Nonprofits, Politics and Privacy," in Case Western Reserve Law Review, Spring 2012, on the disclosure obligations for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations engaged in political activity.



Nominations Sought for Section Leadership Positions

Do you know anyone who has what it takes to be a good Section leader? The Nominating Committee of the Section needs your recommendations for leadership positions for the 2017-2018 association year. Nominees will be selected for: Chair-elect (who automatically assumes the position of chair the following year); Secretary (who automatically assumes the position of vice chair the following year); Content Officer; two Section Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates; and five additional Council members for a four-year term expiring in 2021. The Nominating Committee will take into account the following principles in making its selections. It will: select nominees who have been substantial and active contributors to the Section; seek geographic diversity in the leadership of the Section; strive for representation from a broad cross-section of the areas of law represented in the Section; and seek to draw leaders from a broad cross-section of the various sectors of practice, including corporate law departments, government, academia and private law firms; and actively recruit nominees that reflect the diversity of the Section. Please send your nominations by email to no later than November 18.

Question: Between November 2, 2015 and November 4, 2015, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 2,017 adults ages 18 and older on behalf of NerdWallet, Inc. to understand U.S. consumers’ credit card payment habits and feelings around different types of debt. The results of this study were published in the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study. According to the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study, what percentage of U.S. adults would be more embarrassed to tell others about credit card debt than any other type of debt?
A. 10%
B. 35%
C. 55%
D. 90%

Question: From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, “debtors’ prisons” were commonplace with many cities and states operating brick-and-mortar detention facilities that were designed for incarcerating individuals who were unable or unwilling to pay their debts. Imprisonment for indebtedness was so commonplace that two signatories of the Declaration of Independence were jailed for failure to pay their debts. Can you name those two signatories?

The November issue of Business Law Today will focus on Nonprofits. Articles will range from the “Delaware Advantage” to nonprofit organizations needing nonprofit lawyers. In addition, other features include keeping pace with disruptive technological change, insurance bad faith recoveries, and constitutional issues in granting Americans a “Right to Dispute.”

Do you have a great idea for a BLT article? Would you like to see more of a featured column? Let us know how we can make Business Law Today the best resource for you and your clients. We welcome any suggestions. Please send us your feedback here.

Business Law Section Fall Meeting
November 18-19, 2016
Washington, DC

Business Law Section Spring Meeting
April 6-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Miscellaneous IT Related Legal News (MIRLN) 25 September - 15 October 2016 (v19.14)

BLT is a web-based publication drawing upon the best of the Section's resources, including featured articles and other information from around the Section. Stay informed on the latest business law practice news and information that will benefit you and your clients.