The ABA held its Midyear Meeting February 1-6, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the meeting, the House of Delegates adopted the ABA’s legislative priorities for the 118th Congress. The priorities are divided into 10 categories including access to legal services; civic education and election integrity; criminal justice system improvements; cybersecurity; elimination of discrimination; immigration reform; independence of the judiciary; international rule of law; judicial oversight of the legal profession; and legal education.
Regarding judicial oversight, the ABA specifically opposes measures that undermine attorney-client privilege and the duty of confidentiality and regulations that interfere with state supreme court authority to oversee the legal profession. The priorities state that the ABA will “. . . continue to closely monitor and vigorously oppose any new legislation, proposed regulations, or other measures that would impose burdensome regulations on lawyers or undermine the attorney-client privilege, the confidential lawyer-client relationship, or the state supreme courts’ longstanding authority to regulate and oversee lawyers engaged in the practice of law.”
The ABA priorities also support efforts to make law school more affordable. This includes extending Title IV of the Higher Education Act which authorizes federal student loans. The ABA will continue to monitor any developments regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that it helped create. The priorities note that new legislation seems unlikely given the divided party leadership in both chambers.
The ABA will host ABA Day at the Capitol March 28-29, 2023. Since the Capitol was closed for several years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has primarily held digital advocacy events in the past couple of years. This year, national, state, and local bar leaders will return to the Capitol for in-person meetings with Members of Congress and staff. The ABA Governmental Affairs Office will also coordinate a social media campaign so individuals who are unable to travel to the Capitol can still participate online.
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