Tag Archives: ABA

Egypt/Day of the Endangered Lawyer/USA: Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: 2018 International Day of the Endangered Lawyer

January 24, 2018

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The American Bar Association joins the international community in recognizing the 2018 Day of the Endangered Lawyer. Now in its eighth year, the day is set aside to pay tribute to legal professionals around the globe who work to ensure that governments respect human rights obligations and commitments, often at great personal risk.

Courageous lawyers and judges face risks in countries throughout the world – risks ranging from harassment, surveillance and intimidation to disappearance, detention, prosecution, torture, imprisonment and worse.

As representatives of the justice system, lawyers and judges are essential to any society and merit particular attention and protection. Their unique role is enshrined in fundamental precepts of international law and norms. The longstanding U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers call for all steps necessary to ensure that lawyers are able to fulfill their professional responsibilities without intimidation, harassment or improper interference and to ensure that they are adequately safeguarded when their security is threatened. Similarly, the U.N. Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary underscore the importance of appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of judges and to protect them from threats or interferences from any quarter or for any reason. In addition, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders establishes the right of defenders, individually and in association with others, to offer legal assistance or other relevant advice in defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the declaration further provides that states are to ensure an environment where defenders can do their work without fear of retribution.

The protection of lawyers, judges and human rights defenders is a responsibility of all lawyers. On this day, as we mark the annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the ABA salutes and stands in solidarity with the inspirational lawyers, judges and other human rights defenders around the world who serve and champion justice and the rule of law.



USA: Gagging Attorneys: A Critical Look at the ABA “Anti-Discrimination” Rule

July 31, 2017


The new ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) prohibits attorneys from engaging in “harmful,” “derogatory,” or “demeaning” speech in any activity “related to the practice of law,” including “bar association, business or social activities.”

Proponents of the rule have advanced several arguments in its favor and raised several defenses in answer to its critics. But these arguments and defenses are unconvincing because they’re based on factual misrepresentations or on mischaracterizations of the rule.

Proponents of the rule summarily dismiss the many claims that it is unconstitutional

Many legal authorities point out that the new rule is unconstitutional. Proponents of the rule simply ignore this ever-increasing chorus of constitutional criticism.

The Texas and South Carolina attorneys general – the only attorneys general to have thus far opined on the rule – have both issued official opinions that it would likely violate the free speech, free association, and free exercise rights of attorneys. Indeed, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently rejected the rule after the South Carolina attorney general issued his opinion against it.

The ABA’s own Standing Committee on Attorney Discipline, as well as the Professional Responsibility Committee of the ABA Business Law Section, warned the ABA that the new Rule may violate attorneys’ First Amendment speech rights.

And prominent legal scholars – such as UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, Chapman University constitutional law and legal ethics professor Ronald Rotunda [By Subscription], and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, III – have all opined that the new rule is constitutionally infirm.


USA: Disciplining Lawyers for Harassment and Discrimination: A Time for Change

July 11, 2017


The American Bar Association (ABA) has proposed a model rule to discipline lawyers who in the practice of law harass or discriminate, by speech or conduct, on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status. This proposed rule constitutes Rule 8.4(g) of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (the Rule). Since each state drafts its own rules of professional conduct for lawyers, each state is free to adopt with or without amendments, or not to adopt any proposed rule.

This commentary urges state legislatures, state bars, and state supreme courts to seriously consider the adoption of the Rule and reject the misguiding assertions that the proposed rule violates the lawyers’ First Amendment rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of association. The Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled a public hearing on July 17, 2017 to determine whether Nevada should adopt the Rule.

Rule’s Rationale

As a matter of policy, the Rule assures that the legal profession functions for all participants, including vulnerable groups, such as racial and sexual minorities and persons with disabilities. Inclusion and accountability, rather than exclusion and immunity, are the core values the Rule seeks to protect.

The Rule democratizes access to all persons involved in the legal profession to play their assigned roles without fear of harassment and discrimination. No lawyer –partner or associate, renowned or unknown — has any constitutional or statutory right in the practice of law to harass clients, witnesses, judges, court officials, support staff at the law firm, or colleagues on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, or any other unlawful classification. Nor does a lawyer have any constitutional or statutory right to engage in unlawful discrimination in the employment of new lawyers and staff.






Turkey/USA: Annual Meeting 2016: ABA supports the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in Turkey

August 9, 2016

The House of Delegates approves resolution 10B calling on the Government of Turkey to hold fair, impartial hearings before suspending any lawyer or judge from the bar or tribunal; and to commit to protect human rights during the 2016 Annual Meeting session on Aug. 9 in San Francisco. The resolution supports the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession and opposes any nation’s detention of individuals without charge or access to counsel.

http://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2016/08/annual_meeting_20165.html (VIDEO)

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/abanews/2016%20Annual%20Resolutions/10b.pdf (RESOLUTION)