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IBA: Lawyers Exempted from Red Flags Rule

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Following aggressive advocacy by organized bar associations around the country, the end is in sight regarding how the Federal Trade Commission should apply the “Red Flags Rule.”  The U.S. Senate voted last week to clarify the rule so that lawyers are clearly not included.

At issue was whether lawyers would be considered “creditors” under the so-called FTC’s Red Flags Rule, and would thus be required to develop programs identifying, detecting, and responding to the warning signs (“red flags”) of identity theft.

On Aug. 27, 2009, the American Bar Association filed suit against the FTC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. On Oct. 29, 2009, the ABA’s motion for summary judgment for declaratory and injunctive relief from the Rule’s application to lawyers was granted. On Dec. 1, 2009, Judge Reggie Walton issued his full opinion in support of the ABA’s motion, the principal arguments of which are supported by the state and local bar amici.

The amicus curiae brief stated that adhering to the Rule, if it had gone into effect as applicable to lawyers, would have been particularly detrimental to small firms and solo practitioners, “The burden to create such a plan will fall disproportionately upon small law firms and solo practitioner lawyers in this country who represent the great majority of clients and whose time and resources are already spent serving the needs of their clients.”

The state and local bars also emphasized the historical regulation at the state level of lawyer conduct and the “sacrosanct confidentiality of client financial information.”

At press time action by the U.S. House of Representatives was pending.•

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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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