Philadelphia partner Larry Fox was quoted in the ABA Journal in an article on the American Bar Association’s decision to let go of its idea for developing uniform guidelines that would apply to the retention and employment of experts in contested legal matters.
In August, the ABA Guidelines for Retention of Experts by Lawyers failed to pass the ABA's policymaking House of Delegates for the third time in just a year even though the section made significant changes in the format and scope of the guidelines.
The section's proposal encountered heavy opposition in the House, with opponents questioning whether the ABA should be in the business of setting standards that apply to other professions and finding fault with the format and scope of the suggested standards.
Larry, one of the Litigation Section's delegates, tried his best to win over the opposition, saying the guidelines were essentially a set of best practices that lawyers would be free to follow or ignore as they see fit.
"Nothing in the guidelines requires anyone to do anything," he said. "These are practical, commonsense, logical guidelines--nothing more, nothing less."
In his closing, Larry expressed bewilderment at how strongly some opponents felt about the standards and cautioned against overreaction to them. He said afterward that the Litigation Section has no plans to bring the matter back before the House. But he said he still thinks that the guidelines could serve as a useful checklist for lawyers looking to hire an expert for a client matter.