Independence of the Legal Profession
The ABA believes that primary regulation and oversight of the legal profession should continue to be vested in the court of highest appellate authority of the state in which the attorney is licensed, not federal agencies or Congress, and that the courts are in the best position to fulfill that important function. Therefore, the ABA opposes federal legislation or rules that would undermine traditional state court regulation of attorneys, interfere with the confidential attorney-client relationship, or otherwise impose excessive new federal regulations on attorneys engaged in the practice of law. The ABA has successfully opposed many such congressional and Executive Branch proposals in recent years, including legislation requiring mandatory accrual accounting for law firms, which would require many law firms to pay tax on income before it is received; federal agency policies that erode the attorney-client privilege; and measures that would impose burdensome and intrusive gatekeeper regulations on lawyers, including legislation that would subject the legal profession to key anti-money laundering compliance provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act. The ABA also supports Fair Debt Collection Practices Act reform to preserve state court regulation and oversight of creditor lawyers engaged in litigation.