Aba Task Force Misses the Mark: Attorneys Should Not Be Discouraged from Serving on Their Corporate Clients' Board of Directors

15 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2001  

Patrick W. Straub

Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams LLP - Corporate and Commercial Litigation Practice Group

Abstract

Attorneys have engaged in the practice of serving on their corporate clients' board of directors for over one hundred years. A report recently released by the ABA Section of Litigation's Task Force (Task Force Report) has fueled fire to the debate over whether this practice should be permitted. The Task Force Report criticizes the practice of serving as both an attorney and director of a corporation and concludes that it "should be discouraged in most cases." Today, the practice of attorneys performing the dual role of both legal advisor to the client as well as a member of the board of directors is widespread. The Task Force Report and other critics point out, however, that the practice poses a number of potential ethical and professional problems, including: potential loss of the attorney-client privilege, potential loss of the attorney-director's professional independence, risks of conflicts of interest, and the threat of increased liability for both the attorney-director and his or her firm.

Suggested Citation

Straub, Patrick W., Aba Task Force Misses the Mark: Attorneys Should Not Be Discouraged from Serving on Their Corporate Clients' Board of Directors. As published in Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Volume 25, No. 2, Pp. 261-275, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=260222

Patrick W. Straub (Contact Author)

Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams LLP - Corporate and Commercial Litigation Practice Group ( email )

P.O. Box 2306
Wilmington, DE 19899
United States

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