Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rotunda:  Why Does The ABA Charge Different Fees To Different Authors To Use Model Ethics Rules?

ABA Logo (2016)Ronald D. Rotunda (Chapman), The ABA Wants Copyright Royalties From Authors Who Publish the Law:

  • The ABA requires law schools to study the ABA Model Rules (even if those Rules are not law).
  • Law students must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which is based on the ABA Model Rules, even if those Rules are not law. When the ABA amends its Model Rules, the MPRE automatically follows the change, usually within one year even if no state adopts the ABA change.
  • Law professors (or at least some of them) must prepare teaching materials on the ABA Model Rules.
  • This is the interesting part: The ABA is prohibiting many authors (but not all) from using the ABA Model Rules unless they first pay hefty royalties to the ABA. ...

The ABA does charge some authors a substantial fee to reprint the ABA Model Rules. The ABA charges other authors a low fee, and it charges at least one author absolutely nothing—zero, nada, nothing, scratch.

The ABA charges different authors varying (or no) fees depending (apparently) on how well liked the authors are by the ABA. To be more precise, the “ABA” in this context is not the House of Delegates (the supreme body of the ABA) but ABA staff, rewarding their favorites. The House of Delegates never approved this favoritism by the ABA staff. Perhaps the ABA might want to review its consent decree. On the other hand, the ABA may prefer the present system, because, as Professor Michael Ariens explains, is, “rules and testing on rules sell, not only metaphorically, but economically.”

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As if the ABA didn't have enough problems!

Posted by: Tom N. | Aug 31, 2016 12:35:02 PM