As I indicated on Friday, I’m currently attending the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City. Lots of interesting and noteworthy programs for lawyers and in-house counsel of all types.
During today and Tuesday, the policy-making body of the ABA — known as the House of Delegates — has been debating issues of importance to lawyers. For in-house counsel and those dealing with employment law issues, the HOD considered an important model rule regarding the registration of in-house counsel. The Model Rule passed overwhelmingly by a voice-vote today, a measure that I had an opportunity to speak to the House of Delegates about.
A Model Rule is a proposal advanced by the bar association that is designed to allow other states to copy in adopting their own rules. In essence, it’s like a "best practices" for states. However, in practice, "model" rules are often modified in one way or another and they may or may not be passed at all by certain states.
Connecticut, as readers may recall, already has an in-house counsel registration rule that went into effect just last month. So, in the short term, this new ABA Model Rule isn’t likely to have any significant effect in Connecticut — though other states may see more of an impact.
However, longer term, it’s likely that some of ideas in the model rules — such as pro bono work by in-house counsel – will be debated and discussed. Thus, for in-house counsel in Connecticut, the future is just beginning on the in-house counsel registration rules.