ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Provides Discussion Draft on Domestic and International Outsourcing by Lawyers and Law Firms

CHICAGO, Nov. 22, 2010—The _ Commission on Ethics 20/20 is releasing for comment a discussion draft relating to the ethical and professional regulatory implications of outsourcing in both domestic and international contexts.  The draft provides information about the relevant ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and was developed for the purpose of inviting a dialogue with members of the legal community and the public.

The discussion draft recognizes the growth of outsourcing practices in the legal profession, and suggests ways in which lawyers engaging in the practice can do so ethically and responsibly.  It neither endorses nor rejects the practice of outsourcing; rather, it considers how the comments to the Model Rules might be enhanced to provide necessary clarification and guidance in this area.

In developing the draft, the Commission on Ethics 20/20’s Outsourcing Working Group analyzed a significant volume of materials, including — but not limited to — all available legal ethics opinions; news reports; scholarly articles; studies and surveys; testimony offered at the commission’s public hearings; and comments received in response to questions that were tailored to the experiences and concerns of clients, lawyers, law firms and providers of outsourced services.  This initial version will be circulated to ABA member groups; state, local and international bar associations; the courts; law schools; and other entities, with a request for comment.

A copy is available at www.abanet.org/ethics2020/.  The commission requests comments by January 31, 2011.

The Commission on Ethics 20/20 has been assessing ethical rules and professional regulation in the United States in view of accelerating innovation in technology and the increase in globalized law practice.  It is chaired by Jamie S. Gorelick of Washington, D.C., and Michael Traynor of Berkeley, Calif.  Members of the commission’s Outsourcing Working Group, which developed the draft, included participants from the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and the ABA Section of International Law.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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