Posted by: johnocunningham | May 4, 2011

A Proposal to Bring Professional Rules Into the 21st Century

A recent article in Corporate Counsel magazine indicates that the General Counsel of many large law firms and those of many large companies would like to change the professional rules of ethics as they are applied to “sophisticated” clients.

A March 2011 proposal by law firm general counsel nationwide, which has been supported by the Association of Corporate Counsel, would allow companies and firms to reach commercially favorable agreements on conflicts issues and litigation/discovery issues that might otherwise not be reached.

The proposal would also facilitate more cross-border legal work in an age where it is unrealistic to expect companies to hire 50 different lawyers to review the same legal issue affecting their business operations in 50 different states.

Interestingly, the proposal does not address the ability of outside counsel to market their services directly to sophisticated clients through the Internet or even in person,  something which is currently a fact of life, but technically in violation of some states’ ethics’ rules.

It remains to be seen what the ABA Ethics Commission will do in response to a variety of proposals for updating of professional rules, but some serious examination of modern world realities is in order.

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