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IBA Issues Response to Proposed Lawyer Regulation

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As the United States Senate began debate on the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Act (“CFPA”), the Indianapolis Bar Association issued a letter to oppose provisions within the CFPA which would grant the proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection broad new powers to regulate lawyers. Signed by IBA President Chris Hickey, the letter notes several concerns.

“These provisions will allow the Bureau to regulate and interfere with core aspects of the confidential attorney-client relationship, including the legal advice and other important legal services that lawyers routinely provide to their consumer clients,” wrote the IBA.

The letter added, “These provisions will also undermine traditional state court regulation of lawyers and will result in new federal rules that are inconsistent with the state courts’ longstanding ethical rules and standards governing lawyers.”

It also asserted that “allowing the Bureau to fully regulate lawyers just as if they were non-bank financial institutions will discourage many lawyers from providing the legal services that consumer clients need to save their homes from foreclosure, resolve their debt problems, or avoid bankruptcy.”

To avoid these problems, the IBA urged support of the “Exclusion for the Practice of Law” proposed by the American Bar Association, which is almost identical to the amendment previously crafted by leaders of the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees and incorporated into the House-passed financial overhaul bill, H.R. 4173.

The IBA noted, “Unlike the narrow ‘Exclusion for Attorneys’ provision currently contained in Section 1027(e) of the Senate bill, the proposed amendment would protect consumers while preserving the confidential attorney-client relationship, traditional state court regulation and supervision of lawyers, and the continued availability of quality legal services that consumer clients need.”

The letter was sent to Indiana’s U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh, as well as U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Chairman Senator Chris Dodd and Ranking Member Senator Richard Shelby.•

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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