When I blogged yesterday on “Is The ABA Really Willing for the Headline to be ‘Bar to Public: Drop Dead?‘”, I had not known that the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) had, on Wednesday, passed a resolution on the same general subject, titled Recommending Consideration of the ABA Model Regulatory Objectives for the Provision of Legal Services.
Indeed, the CCJ Resolution notes the prior passage of its own Access Resolution, references the establishment of the ABA Commission on the Future of its Legal Services, and the Commission’s conclusion of the value of the establishment of regulatory objectives,and itself (CCJ) observes that doing so “clarifies the purpose of regulating lawyers and, where a state chooses to do so, other legal service providers; ensures transparency to the public regarding the regulatory framework for lawyers and other legal service providers; and defines the parameters of regulations.”
It then proceeds to list the Regulatory Objectives developed by the Commission (see the bottom of this post), and concludes:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Conference of Chief Justices recommends consideration of the model regulatory objectives by its members as a means to help assess the state’s existing regulatory framework and to help identify and implement regulations related to legal services beyond the traditional regulation of the legal profession.
While this is not a formal endorsement of ABA Resolution 105, while it does not even mention the Resolution rather than the Commission’s substantive conclusions, and while it is addressed to CCJ’s own Chief Justice members rather than other organizations, the parallels are hard to escape.
I would hope therefore that ABA House of Delegates would now find it easier to come to the conclusion that the approach, and perhaps even the specifics of the proposal before them, far from being a crazy radical change, is very much in line with our Nation’s broad access to justice agenda.
I am particularly encouraged that the Chief”s chose to reference the Access Resolution, with its “recognit[ion of] “‘significant advances in creating a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services to secure effective assistance for essential civil legal needs” and support[ing] ‘the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs.’”
If the ABA House of Delegates acts positively tomorrow, this will surely be evidence that our national justice leadership organizations are moving into congruence, not only about the urgency of moving to 100% access, but about the strategy for doing so.
P.S. The Regulatory Objectives discussed above are as follows:
Protection of the public
Advancement of the administration of justice and the rule of law
Meaningful access to justice and information about the law, legal issues, and the civil and criminal justice systems
Transparency regarding the nature and scope of legal services to be provided, the credentials of those who provide them, and the availability of regulatory protections
Delivery of affordable and accessible legal services
Efficient, competent, and ethical delivery of legal services
Protection of privileged and confidential information
Independence of professional judgment
Accessible civil remedies for negligence and breach of other duties owed, and disciplinary sanctions for misconduct
Diversity and inclusion among legal services providers and freedom from discrimination for those receiving legal services and in the justice system.