March 18, 2013

Commission on Ethics 20/20

About the Commission

Created by then ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm in 2009, the Commission will perform a thorough review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the U.S. system of lawyer regulation in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments.

NEW: Summary of Actions by the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has released a summary of the Commission's work to date. Read Summary of Actions

NEW: White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has filed with the House of Delegates as an Informational Report its White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance.  The White Paper can be viewed here.

NEW: Discussion Draft for Comment

Consistent with the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20's promise to provide opportunities for input, it is publishing for comment the attached Discussion Draft with Cover Memo relating to Alternative Law Practice Structures.  Please note that, if the Commission decides to present any proposals on this subject to the ABA House of Delegates, it will not do so until February 2013.

The Commission already has ruled out certain forms of nonlawyer ownership that currently exist in other countries.  In particular, the Commission rejected: (a) publicly traded law firms, (b) outside nonlawyer investment or ownership in law firms, and (c) multidisciplinary practices (i.e., law firms that offer both legal and non-legal services separately in a single entity).  This Discussion Draft relates to a very limited form of nonlawyer ownership in a law firm akin to, but more restrictive than, that which has been permitted for 21 years in the District of Columbia.  Before deciding how to proceed, the Commission wants to receive your comments and review any supporting materials you may wish to offer.  

The Commission encourages responses by late January 2012, so that they can be discussed at the Commission's February 2-3, 2012 meeting, and further asks that those requiring additional time submit comments by February 29, 2012. Comments should be submitted to Senior Research Paralegal, Natalia Vera, natalia.vera@americanbar.org.  Comments received may be posted to the Commission's website.

NEW: Initial Proposal for Comment

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20  is pleased to release for comment, along with a Cover Memo from Commission Co-Chairs Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor, a new initial proposal relating to choice of law and alternative law practice structures. Choice of law issues will exist whether or not the Commission ultimately decides to propose any modification to the current prohibition in Model Rule 5.4 on any form of alternative law practice structure.  The Commission has heard that lawyers and law firms would benefit from additional guidance in this regard, particularly given the proliferation of domestic and international cross-border practice and the fact that more countries where U.S. lawyers and law firms do business now permit alternative law practice structures (as does the District of Columbia). 

The Commission encourages responses by late January 2012, so that they can be discussed at the Commission's February 2-3, 2012 meeting, and further asks that those requiring additional time submit comments by February 29, 2012. Please submit comments to Senior Research Paralegal, Natalia Vera, at natalia.vera@americanbar.org. Comments received may be posted to the Commission's website.  

Please note that, if the Commission decides to present any proposals on this subject to the ABA House of Delegates, it will not do so until February 2013.   

NEW: Commission on Ethics 20/20 Circulates Draft White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance

At its meeting in Denver, October 14-15, 2011, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 decided to file its White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance as an Informational Report to the ABA House of Delegates.  The Commission seeks to share this draft White Paper with interested individuals and entities for their consideration prior to the filing deadline of December 2, 2011.   

Any comments may be directed to Commission Senior Research Paralegal, Natalia Vera at Natalia.Vera@americanbar.org and are requested by November 20, 2011.

NEW: Revised Proposals for Comment
Comment Deadline November 30, 2011


The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is pleased to release for comment, along with a Cover Memo from Co-Chairs Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor, revised proposals for comment by November 30, 2011.  These revised proposals recommend amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct with regard to Outsourcing, Technology and Confidentiality, and Technology and Client Development.  In addition, the Commission is recommending revisions concerning foreign lawyers to the ABA Model Rule on Pro Hac Vice Admission, the ABA Model Rule for Registration of In-House Counsel, and ABA Model Rule 5.5.  

Please submit comments by November 30, 2011 to Senior Research Paralegal Natalia Vera, natalia.vera@americanbar.org. Comments may be posted to the Commission's website.

NEW: Initial Proposals for Comment 
Comment Deadline November 30, 2011

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is pleased to release for comment, along with a Cover Memo from Commission Co-Chairs Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor, a new round of initial proposals for comment by November 30, 2011.  In these proposals the Commission is recommending: amendments to the ABA Model Rule for Admission by Motion; the addition of Model Rule 5.5(d)(3) and language clarifying "systematic and continuous presence"; the addition of new black letter in Model Rule 1.6 authorizing limited disclosures to facilitate conflict checking; and amendments to Model Rule 1.7 regarding choice of law provisions in lawyer-client agreements. Please submit comments by November 30, 2011 to Senior Research Paralegal Natalia Vera at natalia.vera@americanbar.org

Resource:

The Reporter Resources page provides Ethics 20/20 related news releases, multimedia, recent Issues Papers, Initial Draft Proposals, and other pertinent resources.

NEW: August 26, 2011

Commission Co-Chair Michael Traynor, Commissioner Judith Miller and Commission Chief Reporter Andrew Perlman addressed the ABA House of Delegates during the Annual Meeting in Toronto.

Watch the video of their presentation.  View accompanying power point presentation.

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NEW: Midyear Meeting Agenda & Public Hearing Schedule with Written Testimony

In conjunction with the 2012 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 will meet on February 2 and 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street, Gallery Room, Lobby Level.

Ethics 20/20 Commission Agenda

The Commission's public hearing is on Thursday, February 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in the Gallery Room, Lobby Level.

Schedule of Speakers and Written Testimony