Statement from Stephen N. Zack, President, American Bar Association, Re: The Attorney Exemption in the FTC’s Final Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 22, 2010—The American Bar Association applauds the Federal Trade Commission’s recent decision to broaden the attorney exemption in its new rule on Mortgage Assistance Relief Services. By exempting most practicing lawyers who help consumer clients to renegotiate their mortgages or avoid foreclosure, the final FTC rule released last Friday will allow lawyers to continue to provide the critical legal services and expertise homeowners in crisis need. The attorney exemption in the final rule protects consumer clients by largely preserving both the confidential attorney-client relationship and rigorous state court enforcement of professional regulations.
Homeowners facing foreclosure often go to lawyers for help negotiating changes to their mortgages. Lawyers already are subject to extensive state court regulations that impose stringent duties of competency, diligence, confidentiality, and undivided loyalty on lawyers and ensure that they provide the best possible legal representation to their clients. By maintaining the existing state court regulatory environment and declining to impose an unnecessary new federal layer of regulation on most lawyers, the FTC has secured a lifeline for homeowners in danger of losing their homes.
The American Bar Association will continue to work with the FTC, the state courts and state bars in an effort to protect homeowners’ access to the effective legal representation that they need and deserve.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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