Gary Van Graafeiland Re: Comments on INTERIM REPORT - Center for Professional Responsibility

-----Original Message-----

From: []
Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2002 12:04 PM
To: John.Holtaway
Subject: Multijurisdictional Practice

March 15, 2002

ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice
541 N. Fairbanks Court
Chicago, IL 60611
Attn: Wayne J. Positan, Esquire, Chair
John A. Holtaway, Esquire, Counsel

Re: Comments on INTERIM REPORT

Dear Chair Positan and Commissioners:

I am writing to submit the comments of the Committee of Corporate General Counsel of the Section of Business Law (the "Section") of the American Bar Association concerning the Interim Report of the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice dated November 30th, 2001.  The Committee of Corporate General Counsel is composed of approximately 100 general counsels of major U.S. corporations. In our respective roles as general counsel, we manage the legal affairs of our companies, which includes purchasing legal services throughout the United States.

The Committee wishes to express its appreciation for the Commission's efforts to review many difficult issues of critical importance to the legal profession and its clients. We also recognize that there are a number of excellent improvements contained in the Recommendations.

We are writing specifically to endorse the comments submitted to you by the Section by letter dated March 13, 2002. We share the Section's belief that the limited safe harbor in Recommendation 3.5 would unjustifiably restrict the scope of many lawyers' present counseling and transactional practices, and unnecessarily restricts our clients' freedom in choosing their preferred counsel. We also agree that many of the safe harbors in the proposed Rule are appropriate. However, the much more restrictive nature of the safe harbor for the counseling and transactional practices does not reflect the current practice that our clients employ for retaining counsel and is not in the best interest of our clients or the bar in general. As a result, we prefer the approach taken by the so-called "Common Sense" Coalition, for the reasons set forth in the Section's comment letter. In the alternative, we support the creation of a safe harbor which was described in detail in the Section's comment letter with respect to counseling and transactional practices.

In closing, our Committee appreciates the Commission's work on these important issues and the opportunity to submit our comments.

Very truly yours,

Gary Van Graafeiland
Advocacy Chair