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  • Bar backs ABA move to increase the number of minority attorneys

    first_img Bar backs ABA move to increase the number of minority attorneys April 30, 2006 Regular News The Bar Board of Governors has voted to endorse an ABA resolution aimed at increasing the number of minority lawyers and discussed another ABA effort to protect the attorney-client privilege between lawyers and corporate clients.Bar President Alan Bookman presented the minority resolution to the board at its April 7 meeting.It called on states to ensure that their bar exams do not have a disparate effect on minority passing rates. It also calls on state and local bars to support programs that help minorities attend college and then go to law school.The board voted unanimously to endorse that.President-elect Hank Coxe brought the second ABA matter to the board’s attention, but did not call for any action on it.He said the ABA, under the leadership of Miami attorney Neal Sonnett, has been trying to oppose what has been labeled the Thompson memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Justice a few years ago.That memo stated that it is government policy that in order for corporations under criminal investigation to get credit from the government for cooperation, they must waive attorney-client privilege.That, Coxe said, “had a significant impact on the ability of attorneys to help their clients.”It also led to such things as the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Commission adopting a rule that credit would be given in sentencing to corporations that waived the attorney-client provision and the government’s taking the position that corporations which provided counsel to their employees were not cooperating and might even be blocking government investigations.It also led to the unlikely partnership between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union to work to overturn the Justice memorandum, Coxe said.And those efforts have recently had some success.The guidelines commission, he said, has proposed a rule change that would drop the credit provision for waiving the attorney-client relationship. Unless Congress acts to contradict it, that change will become effective July 1.And Coxe said a federal judge has called into question the government’s pressuring of corporations not to provide counsel for their employees. In light of the Sixth Amendment, the judge “asked them how they could take that position,” he said.Although he didn’t call for any action at the meeting, Coxe said the ABA is interested in getting state bars to support its actions.center_img Bar backs ABA move to increase the number of minority attorneyslast_img read more

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