ABA Passes Screening Rule, With ACC Support

The ABA passed amendments to ABA Model Rules allowing screening of a lawyer changing law firms, without the consent of an incoming attorney’s former client.

The ABA’s House of Delegates passed  amendments to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.10 (via Resolution 109 at the ABA Mid-Year Meeting, February 16, in Boston). Model Rule 1.10 governs certain conflicts of interest rules, and now provides a screening mechanism to facilitate firm conflicts management when lawyers change law firms or law firms merge.

Paula Boggs, CLO of Starbucks (a former ACC Board member and current member of the ABA House of Delegates) presented ACC’s position on the floor in support of the amendment.  Reading from a statement to the ABA by Susan Hackett, ACC’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Ms. Boggs described the amendments as “balanc[ing] the interests of the lawyer who moves and the client who deserves the profession’s and the firm’s protection.”

Hackett noted that “The reality of modern practice is that many lawyers will work for several different employers or firms over the course of their careers.  ACC believes new rules are needed to guide lawyers with potential conflicts into new firms, rather maintaining a regulatory environment that abandons lawyers and firms to a professional no-man’s land where the incentive is to simply bury or ignore conflicts.”

For more info see:

ACC Statement on ABA House Res. 109

Amendments to ABA Model Rule 1.10

ABA Law Journal Article re: House Res. 109