The American Bar Association submitted a letter today to the U.S. Department of Labor to express its “serious concerns” over a proposed rule that would “substantially narrow” the longstanding interpretation of what lawyer activities constitute “advice” to employer clients.
Currently, most work from attorneys is exempt from the substantial reporting requirements in federal law that require “persuaders” (or, for ease of understanding, those brought in during a union campaign to help persuade employees to vote against unionization) to report their activities.
You can download the entire letter here.
The ABA’s position here is important because on many labor & employment matters, it abstains because there is typically not a consensus between management-side and employee-side attorneys. This issue, however, touches all attorneys and is necessary, in the ABA’s words , to defend “the confidential client-lawyer relationship” and would impose an “unjustified and intrusive burden on lawyers and law firms and their clients”.
The rule is still in its proposed stage, but the ABA’s input here could be quite important for another reason as well. The ABA’s involvement in the “red flag” rules was crucial to getting that rule overturned. Time will tell if the ABA’s involvement here will have a similar impact.
Seth Borden of Labor Relations Today had a good recap of these proposed rules back in July.